Funerals of teenagers killed in Cookstown to take place on Friday
Children in 12 schools getting ‘psychological first aid’ after deaths in crush outside hotel
Students leave flowers outside The Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown, Co. Tyrone following the deaths of three teenagers; Lauren Bullock, Connor Currie and Morgan Barnard at a St Patrick’s Day party.Photograph:: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
The parish priest of Dungannon Very Rev Dean Kevin Donaghy confirmed on Wednesday that over the space of five or six hours successive funerals will take place respectively for those who lost their lives – Morgan Barnard (17), Lauren Bullock (17) and 16-year-old Connor Currie.
The three funeral Masses will be held in the home parishes of the teenagers.
The funeral Mass for Morgan Barnard will be he held in St Patrick’s Church, Dungannon, at 10 am. An hour later the Mass for Lauren Bullock will take place in St Patrick’s Church, Donaghmore.
At 2 pm the funeral Mass will be held for Connor Currie in St Malachy’s Church in Edendork.
Meanwhile, a team of experts are giving “psychological first aid” to children and staff in 12 schools in the aftermath of the deaths.
Sheila Gamble, of the North’s Education Authority, said the traumatised include pupils who were at the St Patrick’s Day disco and those who were not there on the night but who were friends of those who died.
“We have received calls from principals saying they required support so we have been providing support to 12 schools over the last two days, providing critical incident trained staff in the schools to provide what we call psychological first aid or emotional support during this sad time for the school community,” she told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.
“It is a sudden and unexpected incident, or sequence of events, which causes trauma to the school community and which overwhelms their normal coping mechanism.”
She said pupils and staff are speaking to experts who give them time to acknowledge their emotions and feelings, help them find others around them who can support them and “to reassure them that over time things will get better”.
“The team is dealing with lots of different pupils, some who were there and some who had heard about it, they weren’t actually there but the death of the three young people had impacted upon them because they were their friends.”
Ms Gamble said after they deal with this “critical” time it would be important for the schools to get back to a normal routine.