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Bryan Magill's death a cruel blow for our family, says heartbroken sister

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Crash victim  Bryan Magill with his sister Donna Collins

Crash victim Bryan Magill with his sister Donna Collins

The scene of the crash in Co Louth

The scene of the crash in Co Louth

Bryan Magill

Bryan Magill

Joan McAlister

Joan McAlister

Crash victim Bryan Magill with his sister Donna Collins

The heartbroken newlywed sister of a talented young footballer has said his "untimely death" is a "cruel blow" that has completely devastated her family.

Bryan Magill, from Newry, was one of five people from Northern Ireland who died during a weekend of carnage on the Republic of Ireland's roads.

The 25-year-old forklift driver was tragically killed in a two-vehicle collision on the N1 in Co Louth around 2.15am on Saturday, February 29, that also claimed the lives of mother and son Mary and Kevin Faxton.

Keith Lennon (20) from Dromintee, Co Armagh, appeared in court in the Republic on Monday charged with causing the three deaths by dangerous driving and of failing to report the crash.

Bryan's grieving sister Donna Collins (32), who got married three weeks ago and has just returned from honeymoon, told the Belfast Telegraph that life will never be the same again without their beloved 'Bru'.

"Bryan was an amazing son and brother; he had so many friends and was loved by everyone who knew him," 32-year-old Donna said.

He will never ever be forgotten and we have such amazing memories that we will laugh about for the rest of our lives Donna Collins

"He always knew how to make people laugh, even when they were going through hard times.

"Bryan has touched so many lives and I know our family will never be the same without him.

"We are absolutely devastated and heartbroken to have lost such an amazing guy."

She continued: "He will never ever be forgotten and we have such amazing memories that we will laugh about for the rest of our lives. We will always love our Bru." Donna, the eldest of five siblings, who recently wed Paul Collins, said Bryan's loss has hit sister Elizabeth (31) and brothers Joe (28) and Caolin (18) extremely hard.

She also told how his death, in "such awful circumstances", had left their parents Yvonne (52) and Joey (56) "broken" with grief.

"We are an extremely close family," she said.

"We couldn't believe it when we heard the news. Mum and dad have taken it very badly; they don't know where they are.

"It just doesn't seem fair, Bryan was so young.

"It's such a cruel blow. He didn't have a girlfriend. He hadn't even had a chance to meet someone special before he died."

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The scene of the crash in Co Louth

The scene of the crash in Co Louth

The scene of the crash in Co Louth

Speaking through her tears, Donna described the talented Co Down footballer, who worked at a local wholesalers, as a "great character" who was "funny and witty" and adored by everyone who knew him.

"Bryan was the life and soul of the party," she said.

"He was the type of person who went on a night out with no money and always came back in a taxi with a Chinese and change in his pocket!"

Her brother Caolin added: "He lived his wee life to the full. He had so many friends.

"Nobody can believe this has happened. It seems surreal."

If you knew what was around the corner, you'd probably pay more attention to every little detail Donna Collins

Donna, who came back from a Caribbean island honeymoon cruise a week ago, said the only way her family will get through this tragedy is by "leaning on each other".

"We have just celebrated my wedding; this wasn't supposed to happen," she said.

"I didn't expect to be coming back from honeymoon to something like this."

Recalling the last time she saw Bryan, on the Thursday before his death, Donna said she'd given him money to go to a friend's wedding, from which he was tragically never to return.

"I can't remember the last thing I said to him," she said.

"But you don't expect something like this to happen.

"If you knew what was around the corner, you'd probably pay more attention to every little detail."

Bryan's body is due to be returned to the family home today.

There are no funeral details at present.

Meanwhile, Christian worker Joan McAlister (66), from Portadown, and a colleague were killed in a separate crash in Co Cavan on Saturday.

Ms McAlister was the passenger in a 4x4 vehicle which was involved in a collision with a car on the N55 in Ballinagh.

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Joan McAlister

Joan McAlister

Joan McAlister

The driver of the vehicle was named locally as Ian Kindley, who is thought to have been in his 60s.

Ms McAlister's grieving family said that she was a "loving sister", "devoted aunt" and "a dedicated person and faithful friend devoted to serving God and helping others".

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