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Tributes for Oisin McGrath as schoolboy (13) loses his fight for life

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Oisin (13) was a keen Gaelic footballer with his local team in Belcoo, Co Fermanagh

Oisin (13) was a keen Gaelic footballer with his local team in Belcoo, Co Fermanagh

Fr Seamus Quinn

Fr Seamus Quinn

Oisin McGrath was treated in Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast

Oisin McGrath was treated in Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast

St Michael’s College in Enniskillen

St Michael’s College in Enniskillen

Classmates who attended the special Mass for Oisin in Belcoo

Classmates who attended the special Mass for Oisin in Belcoo

Oisin (13) was a keen Gaelic footballer with his local team in Belcoo, Co Fermanagh

Tributes poured in last night for the tragic 13-year-old schoolboy whose organs will give the gift of life to others.

Oisin McGrath passed away in hospital yesterday three days after he was critically injured in a playground incident.

The young GAA player is understood to have suffered a traumatic head injury following the incident during a game of football at St Michael's College in Enniskillen.

Oisin had been on life-support at the Royal Victoria Hospital, but his family took the decision to withdraw it. The Belfast Trust confirmed his death shortly before 7.30pm. Amid their devastation, Oisin's parents Nigel and Sharon consented to the donation of their beloved son's organs.

The family hope they can be used to save other lives.

First Minister Peter Robinson led the tributes to the schoolboy last night.

He said: "Young Oisin McGrath's death is heartbreaking. I'll be praying for his family and all those devastated by this sad news tonight."

Tributes were also paid in the McGraths' home village of Belcoo, where neighbours and friends had attended a special prayer Mass on Wednesday night.

Oisin had been in a critical condition since the incident on Monday afternoon. His family had been told there was no prospect of recovery.

The life-support machine was gradually withdrawn throughout yesterday as his parents maintained a vigil at his bedside.

Family priest Fr Seamus Quinn said the news had left the community stunned.

"I was with the family yesterday and the day before," he said.

"Sharon called me prior to last night's Mass and she relayed the message to me that the doctor had examined Oisin's brain-stem and there were no signs of life.

"I spoke with her this morning and he remained on ventilation.

"Oisin's family are going to donate his organs."

Fr Quinn said Oisin's family knew his chances of recovery had been slim given the nature of his injury.

They were said to have been drawing strength from their religious faith and the support of the community.

"They are just in a nightmare. It is a nightmare which won't go away.

"They are still stunned. Their hearts are rent asunder.

"They are losing their 13-year-old boy, the eldest of their family and a big, strapping, happy, good lad."

Oisin's relatives asked him to pass on their "heartfelt thanks to all for their messages of support and prayers".

The family added: "It is keeping us going at this time."

Oisin played for the under-14 side of Belcoo O'Rahilly's GAC.

The club said it learned of his passing with "regret and deep sadness".

It added: "Our thoughts remain with Oisin's extended family circle and friends at this tragic time."

Hundreds of tributes were paid on Twitter. Former Celtic goalkeeper Michael McGovern wrote: "Such tragic news from back home about young Oisin McGrath. Devastating for his poor family."

Fermanagh-South Tyrone MP Michelle Gildernew expressed her heartfelt sympathy to the family.

"My heart is breaking at the thought of what the McGrath family must be going through at this time," she said.

"The loss of such a young life after such a tragic incident is devastating for the entire community; from his family, to his school, to his classmates, to his team-mates at Belcoo O'Rahilly's."

It is understood St Michael's College will close today as a mark of respect.

A police investigation is continuing into the incident at the school.

Further Reading

 

Belfast Telegraph