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'He lit up a room when he entered': Teenagers who died at Tyrone disco laid to rest

Tributes have been pouring in for the three “wonderful” young people who tragically lost their lives on Sunday.

Updated Mar 22nd 2019, 2:46 PM

pjimage-2-203 Lauren, Connor (top right) and Morgan (bottom right). Source: Euphoria Allstar Chearleading/Edendork Gac/Facebook

THREE TEEANGERS WHO died at a St Patrick’s Day disco in Co Tyrone were laid to rest today.

Lauren Bullock (17), Morgan Barnard (17) and Connor Currie (16) were killed in an apparent crush outside the Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown on Sunday night.

Morgan Barnard’s funeral mass was held in Saint Patrick’s Church, Dungannon, at 10am, while Lauren Bullock was laid to rest following an 11am mass in Saint Patrick’s Church, Donaghmore.

Connor Currie’s funeral mass took place in Saint Malachy’s Church, Edendork, at 2pm.

Cookstown incident funerals The funeral cortege arriving at St Patrick's Church, Dungannon for the funeral of Morgan Barnard. Source: Brian Lawless/PA Wire/PA Images

Father Aidan McCann, curate of Dungannon, was the chief celebrant at Morgan’s funeral mass.

In his homily, Fr McCann said: “In these days of tragedy and deep sorrow, I’ve had the opportunity to speak to many people about Morgan and they all agree on what they say about him.

“To say that Morgan was well liked would be an understatement. He was a vivacious, charismatic and energetic young man who nobody had a bad word to say about.

Cookstown incident funerals The funeral cortege arriving at St Patrick's Church, Dungannon for the funeral of Morgan Barnard. Source: Brian Lawless/PA Wire/PA Images

“Morgan was a person of character who had a great sense of humour with an abundance of wit; always a smile on his face.

“You could never pass him on the corridor in school and no doubt anywhere else without getting a warm look or a quick joke as he passed.

Morgan had a strong personality and didn’t care too much about the opinion of others revealed in his various hair styles or indeed lack of hair, hair colours and his flamboyant choice of shirts.

“He was constantly breaking his glasses and his mother was constantly having to buy him new school shoes as he wore them out playing football. He was also a humble young man who would always listen and be there for somebody if they needed him.”

‘Energetic and full of life’ 

Father David Moore, Parish Priest of Pomeroy, was the chief celebrant at Lauren’s mass. He told the congregation one thing that can never be taken away from her family and the wider community are their “precious memories”.

Cookstown incident funerals The coffin of Lauren Bullock arriving for funeral at St Patrick's Church, Donaghmore. Source: Liam McBurney/PA Wire/PA Images

“Lauren has been the essence of a wonderful and caring daughter, sister, grand-daughter, niece to her family and a loyal and caring friend to so many others.

“So many people have been touched by the events of Sunday night. Take consolation in that, a sign of what people in the community and local area truly thought of her and yourselves as a family.

Cookstown incident funerals The funeral cortege makes its way to St Patrick’s Church, Donaghmore for the funeral of of Lauren Bullock. Source: Liam McBurney/PA Wire/PA Images

“Aged only 17, Lauren was well in the process of making her mark on her home, her school, this community, her circle of friends. She was ‘living the dream’, energetic and full of life, doing and enjoying all the things that made her happy.

She was a girl who was happiest when she was doing things to help others and gave of herself and her time to do a good deed whenever and wherever she could. Lauren’s many friends have described her to me as having ‘a warm and bubbly personality with a very infectious smile’, that’s a lovely picture for all of us to have of her in our minds today.

“Lauren was getting on so well in Saint Patrick’s College in Dungannon, and her teachers there can attest to how eager and very able a student Lauren was. She had a bright future in front of her and we know she still had so much more to contribute to our community.”

‘His infectious smile warmed everyone’s hearts’

Fr Kevin Donaghy, parish priest of Dungannon, was the chief celebrant at Connor’s funeral mass.

He told those present that Connor’s parents and close family “have been greatly comforted by the good memories shared with them by Connor’s classmates and team-mates and teachers and friends” in recent days.

Cookstown incident funerals Members of the Edendork St Malachy's GAA club formed a guard of honour at the funeral of Connor Currie at St Malachy's Church. Source: Brian Lawless/PA Wire/PA Images

“Friends have recalled how he lit up a room as he entered it and his infectious smile warmed everyone’s hearts.

Teachers remember him as a courteous and appreciative young student, always in the habit of saying thank you as he left the classroom – though he maybe let that be the passport that got him through an odd bit of mischief as well! At home that ‘thank you’ was a constant habit as well – he always spoke those words as he left the kitchen table.

“Unlike the usual reputation of teenage boys he was quite fussy about the tidiness of his room, the wardrobe hangers well used and clothes neatly folded in the drawer, no clutter in the room and everything in its place. He knew he was loved at home – as his parents said to me ‘he was a gem’.

“Away from home he was a star as well, a conscientious student who had his sights set on doing accountancy, the office desk and computer set-up in his bedroom a sure sign that he was preparing for a life of paperwork, computers and figures.”

Cookstown incident funerals The coffin arrives for the funeral of Connor Currie at St Malachy's Church, Edendork. Source: Brian Lawless/PA Wire/PA Images

Fr Donaghy also praised Connor’s football and dance skills, noting that friends had this week “shared with his parents some video shots on their phones of Connor practising his dance moves”.

Speaking about the tragic events, Archbishop Eamon Martin said: “In the days ahead, we will cherish the memories of these precious and gifted young people whose lives have been so suddenly wrenched from among us; we will continue to hold their families, and each other, close in love and faith.”

Witness appeal 

Tributes have been flooding in for the teenagers in recent days and yesterday PSNI Detective Chief Superintendent Raymond Murray said: “My thoughts and the thoughts of all my officers are very much with the families.

Our job is to get them answers as to why they have lost their children.

On Tuesday, detectives from the PSNI Major Investigation Team arrested two men on suspicion of manslaughter. A 52-year-old man was released on bail on Wednesday and a 40-year-old man remains in custody.

To date, detectives involved in the investigation have identified 400 young people who were in the queue or car park on Sunday evening. 

Eighty-two people have now been interviewed and arrangements have been made to interview 106 others in the coming days. Over 70 people have availed of the facility at the local Burnavon Centre to speak with detectives.

Murray appealed to anyone who has not yet contacted police to come forward, noting that the three victims’ families “have made clear they wish that witnesses come forward and talk to police”. 

Detectives would again reassure anyone with concerns, they focus of our investigation is not the age of people who were at the event – it is about trying to find answers for the families of the three teenagers who tragically died. 

“I would urge parents to talk with your children, support them and encourage them to come forward and tell their story to police so we can get an accurate picture of events that night.

“Their accounts of events on Sunday night could be crucial to establishing how Connor, Lauren and Morgan died,” Murray said. 

Detectives can be contacted at the dedicated incident room at Dungannon Police Station by calling 101, extension 53055. 

Alternatively, people can visit the dedicated room at the Burnavon Arts Centre in Cookstown. 

Anyone with any information, images or footage can send it to police via this link

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Órla Ryan

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