Belfast Telegraph

A bright light has gone out in this world ... tributes paid to Newry man killed in crash

By Victoria Leonard

A 27-year-old Co Down man who died in a road traffic collision was a "beloved son" whose passing means "a bright shining light has gone out in this world".

Newry man Karl Heaney, a GAA player with Newry Mitchels GFC and a former pupil of Abbey Christian Brothers Grammar School, died following a two vehicle collision on the A1 between Banbridge and Dromore on Wednesday night.

It was reported that he was a teaching assistant at Belfast's Aquinas Diocesan Grammar School, and was travelling home from GAA training when the accident occurred.

Police are appealing for information after his silver Ford Fusion was involved in a collision with a black Kia Ceed on the A1, close to the junction of the Halfway Road, at around 11.30pm.

The 32-year-old male driver of the Kia Ceed and the 30-year-old female driver of a third car, a red Kia Rio, have been arrested on suspicion of a number of motoring offences and are in police custody.

Mr Heaney's funeral will take place on Sunday afternoon.

In his funeral notice, his family described him as the "beloved son of Michael and Monica, cherished brother of Carina, Tara and Aoife, devoted partner of Ciara and treasured grandson of Joe".

They added: "Our Lady Queen of The Most Holy Rosary pray for him.

"Deeply regretted and sadly missed by his mum, dad, sisters, niece, Imogen, partner, grandfather, aunts, uncles, cousins and the entire family circle."

Tributes to Mr Heaney flooded in on social media.

Newry Mitchels GFC, where he was a senior player, said the club had been left "truly devastated and heartbroken" by the tragedy.

They stated: "Karl was a true gentlemen, who never had a bad word to say about anyone and always had a smile on his face.

"Always willing to help out in any capacity within the club, he epitomised all that is good in the GAA. Karl Heaney, a dedicated Gael, senior player for Newry Mitchels GFC, an avid Liverpool FC fan, but most of all a devoted son, brother, uncle, friend and boyfriend of Ciara.

"He will be missed by everyone who knew him within our club and far beyond and his loss will leave a huge void in the many lives he touched. Our thoughts and prayers are with his parents, sisters, girlfriend Ciara and his wider family circle".

St Mary's Youth Club, where Mr Heaney was a former member and where his father Micky is a committee member, expressed their "deep sorrow" at the death of "a lovely lad".

As a mark of respect, the club closed last night, and has postponed a trip which was due to be held next week.

They wrote: "It is with deep sorrow and regret to hear of the loss of such a lovely lad, our thoughts and prayers are with the entire family at this very sad time."

New York GAA club Brooklyn Shamrocks GFC, which Karl joined in summer 2014, said that "a bright shining light has gone out in this world".

They added: "To say Karl was loved by everyone that met him is an understatement. There was a smile permanently stretched across his face at all times. He was always up for the craic and a laugh. It was a pleasure just to be in his company. The club extends its heartfelt sorrow and condolences to the Heaney family, Karl's girlfriend Ciara and all Karl's friends at home and here in New York."

Newry, Mourne and Down SDLP Councillor Gillian Fitzpatrick expressed her sympathies to Mr Heaney's family, and said Mr Heaney had had "his whole life ahead of him."

"It's horrific, so sad, and it brings a darkness and sadness to the community," the Crotlieve representative told the Belfast Telegraph. "I can't even imagine what his family is going through.

"I would like to express my sympathies for another tragic death on our roads. It's every parent and every family's worst nightmare. He had his whole life ahead of him, and to be taken away so young is just horrible. Newry Mitchels will rally round and offer support, and the whole community will look after this man's family and friends.

"In times like this we show the strength of the community."

Crotlieve Independent councillor Jarlath Tinnelly called the tragedy "heartbreaking."

"I would like to pass on my condolences - it's heartbreaking for his family and it has an effect on the community," he stated.

Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Councillor Glenn Barr said the community was in "total shock to have such a young man die."

He added: "My sympathy, thoughts and prayers are with Karl's family and I hope they find the strength through God to carry on."

SDLP Upper Bann MLA Dolores Kelly and SDLP Banbridge Councillor Seamus Doyle also offered thoughts and prayers to Mr Heaney's family and friends.

Mrs Kelly said: "This is a profound tragedy and has taken a young man away from his family.

"It is also a reminder of how dangerous our roads can be."

Councillor Doyle added: "Urgent action is needed to address the numerous road safety concerns on the A1. There must be investment to complete the ongoing improvement works and it is vital that a Minister is in place to implement these much needed changes."

Police are appealing for anyone who witnessed the collision or observed a black Kia Ceed or Red Kia Rio travelling on the A1 to contact them on 101 quoting reference 1643 23/05/18.

Mr Heaney's funeral will take place at 2pm on Sunday in St Mary's Church, Newry, with burial in Monkshill cemetery.

Belfast Telegraph

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