Belfast Telegraph

Touching tributes after sister of MLA found dead

By Brendan McDaid

Tributes to the sister of an Assembly Member found dead yesterday described her as “named after an angel and you are with them now”.

Gabrielle Durkan (28), who is a sister of MLA Mark H Durkan and a niece of Foyle MP and former SDLP leader Mark Durkan, was a nurse at Altnagelvin Hospital.

It is the second tragedy to hit the family, after another sister died in a car crash 11 years ago.

Her remains were discovered at Edanmount Park in the Glen area of Derry yesterday morning, the same street in which a number of her relatives live.

Police confirmed the death is not being treated as suspicious. The cause of death was not known last night.

Known as ‘Gay’, the former Thornhill College student was a popular figure within the nursing profession and across Derry.

Her parents, Pat and Gabrielle, brothers and sisters were yesterday said to be devastated at the loss of a second daughter.

In January 2000 Gabrielle’s sister Deirdre Durkan (18) was killed in a car crash outside Moneymore.

Fr Daniel McFaul from St Eugene’s Cathedral in the city said last night: “We are just devastated for the Durkans. This is a double blow for them, it’s unbelievable.

“They are a family of great faith and our thoughts and prayers are with them at this time.”

Gay’s extensive network of friends and nursing colleagues yesterday expressed their shock as they paid tribute to her via her Facebook page.

She was described as one in a million and the “life of the party” by her friends. A tribute on the social networking site said Ms Durkan was “named after an angel and you are with them now”.

“A beautiful light has been placed with the stars”, read another. Others said “you were an amazin’ nurse and a great person” and “heaven has got another good angel now”.

One nursing colleague wrote: “I am going to miss an amazing work colleague ... such a joy to be around, always a smile and never a frown!

“Ill never forget all the laughs we had! Such a beautiful person, an amazing personality and the best nurse ive truely ever met. I dont know how im going to set foot at work again knowing ul not be there.”

A PSNI spokesman said: “Police attended the sudden death of a 28-year-old female in the Edanmount Park area. The death is not being treated as suspicious at this stage.”

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