THERE has been an outpouring of sadness locally following the tragic news from Cookstown this morning that three teenagers have been killed in an incident at a nightclub.
While it is not believed the three young people – a 17-year-old girl, a 17-year-old boy, and a 16-year-old boy – were from Fermanagh, Cookstown is popular with local teenagers who travel to the Tyrone town for nights out.
Fermanagh and Omagh District Councillor Mary Garrity said while she did not know the young people who died, everyone in the local area would have deep empathy and sympathy with the teenagers’ families and loved ones.
“It really puts things in perspective,” said Cllr Garrity, who was preparing to travel to Armagh
for the MacRory Cup final today, which two of her sons are involved with.
“It is such a tragedy, I can’t get over it at all. My boys and a lot of local ones here would head down that way to discos. We’re thinking of their friends and family, they are in our thoughts and prayers.”
Police are currently investigating the circumstances of last night’s tragedy, which happened at the Greenvale Hotel shortly before 9.30pm, but have said they have had reports of a “crush” when a large group of young people were awaiting entry to a disco. Police have said they also have had reports of fighting “after the incident commenced.”
One teenage who was there told this paper’s sister publication, the Ulster Herald, there had been a lot of “pushing” and “swaying” outside the disco.
“There must have been 20 or 30 who fell first and then everyone followed. I’d say there were more than 100 who were in the queue that fell,” he said.
The teenager added: “I was pinned down with others on top of me. We must have been on the ground for 20 minutes unable move. It was absolutely terrible.
“I didn’t know what was going to happen or how I was going to get out. Eventually I was pulled out and thankfully was able to walk away.”
Police have appealed for photos or video footage, including dashcam footage, of last night’s incident. They have urged people not to share the footage online, but instead with the PSNI by uploading to the Major Incident Public Portal https://mipp.police.uk/