Cliona Hagan pays tribute to Cookstown hotel teens after losing dance final
Northern Ireland country singer Cliona Hagan last night paid tribute to the teenagers killed in the Cookstown hotel tragedy after she lost out in the final of Ireland's Dancing With The Stars competition to RTE presenter Mairead Ronan.
After her final dance in the competition, singer Cliona - the only finalist not from Dublin - said she had been back home in Co Tyrone in the wake of the St Patrick's Day tragedy.
"My heart just went out to people after the tragedy in Tyrone," she said.
"I wanted to pay my respects."
Earlier, she had dedicated her performance in the final to the three teenagers who lost their lives at a St Patrick's Day disco.
Speaking of her heartbreak for the families of Lauren Bullock (17), Morgan Barnard, also 17, and Connor Currie (16), all from her native Co Tyrone, the singer said: "It is just devastating for them, their friends and families. My heart goes out to them - it's just awful."
Cliona and her partner Robert Rowinski had hoped their fancy footwork would see off their rivals - Love/Death actor Johnny Ward and Emily Barker; presenter Mairead Ronan and John Nolan; and comic Fred Cooke and his pro partner Giulia Dotta.
She and her Polish partner scored two maximums on the night.
The couple received a standing ovation and a maximum score of 30 in their modern dance routine. For their favourite dance - the rumba - they scored a 27, while for their opening quickstep, they scored another maximum.
Judge Brian Redmond said Hagan had "saved the best till last".
But last night the crown went to Mairead Ronan and her partner John Nolan.
An emotional Mairead said that she was stunned to be named the winner.
"This night last year I was 20 weeks' pregnant. I never ever thought that a year later I would be on this dancefloor lifting the glitterball trophy!" she said.