Shock and sadness at killing of two NI women

 

NEWS OF the killing of two Irishwomen in Turkey was met yesterday with shock and sadness in the Newry area of Co Down, where they had lived and worked.

The Sinn Féin mayor of Newry, Charlie Casey, said he knew the two women, Marion Graham and Kathy Dinsmore, well. He described them as “popular and bubbly women” with good personalities who “didn’t let life get them down”.

He said he knew Ms Dinsmore particularly well as she was a former employee of Newry and Mourne Council in Newry.

He said the two murdered women were very good friends who had developed a strong relationship over many years. There was “shock and horror” in the city at the deaths and the brutal nature of the killings, he said.

This was the second murder tragedy to strike the Graham family. In 1997 Ms Graham’s step-sister, Belinda Harte, aged 20, was murdered in Newry.

South Down Sinn Féin councillor Mick Murphy said he knew Ms Dinsmore, who was originally from the Warrenpoint area. “She was a very nice, pleasant woman who looked after her family extremely well. This is desperate news, a desperate tragedy, my heart goes out to the two families,” he said.

SDLP South Down Assembly member Karen McKevitt said one of her children went to primary school with Ms Graham’s daughter, Shannon, and people were devastated at the news of the deaths and the circumstances of how the women were murdered.

“The sense of grief within our community is almost palpable and people are stunned that something so terrible has happened in a place which is a popular summer destination for people in the Newry and Mourne area,” she said.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, family and friends as they attempt to come to terms with this awful tragedy,” she added.

Bishop of Dromore John McAreavey, offering his condolences, said words could not adequately describe the grief being experienced by the families and friends of the women.

“I am particularly concerned about the acute trauma being suffered by Marion Graham’s young daughter in Turkey, and I pray that she will find the strength to cope with the dark hours and days that are ahead,” he added.

“The people of Newry and the wider communities of South Down and South Armagh are profoundly shocked by the horrific murders of two very popular people but I know that the widespread and resolute community support for the Graham and Dinsmore families will prevail over this terrible tragedy,” said Bishop McAreavey.

In a joint statement, First and Deputy First Ministers Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness offered their condolences to the families of the two women. “While circumstances surrounding the deaths have yet to fully emerge, we hope that the person or persons responsible will be brought to justice as soon as possible.”

The SDLP leader and South Down MP Margaret Ritchie said people throughout the area were deeply saddened by the news. “This is every family’s nightmare and the whole area is in grief.”

Danny Kennedy, Ulster Unionist MLA for Newry and Armagh, said the entire community was shocked by “this simply awful news”.

Alliance MLA Stewart Dickson, offering his sympathy to the families, said the local community would try to support them in the coming days and weeks.