THE three teenagers tragically killed in a crush at a St Patrick’s Day disco at a hotel have all been named locally.
They were Lauren Bullock and Morgan Barnard, both aged 17, and 16-year-old Connor Currie.
Police have appointed a major investigation team to conduct the investigation involving specialist detectives.
Principal of St Patrick’s College, Catherine McHugh described Lauren Bullock as “a beautiful girl”.
“A young person with much talent and capability she will be a huge loss to our school community, to her family and to her friends,” she told the media outside her school on Monday afternoon.
“Our heartfelt sympathies go out to Lauren’s family, to the families of the other teenagers and to those who witnessed such traumatic scenes.”
Connor and Morgan were both students at St Patrick’s Academy in Dungannon. A prayer service was held a the school on Monday afternoon.
Tributes were paid on social media to Morgan.
“He was such a great lad, great manners and always had a smile for everyone,” was one tribute.
“School will never be the same without you.”
A friend wrote: “Doesn’t seem real that your gone, always brightened up our classroom with your humour and smile.”
Another tribute said: “Heartbreaking, thoughts and prayers to their families.”
Edendork GAA club paid tribute to Connor.
“Connor will forever be remembered with the greatest affection by all associated with our club and indeed the wider Edendork community,” the club said.
“We are all in shock at Connor’s untimely passing, to lose a dear friend and team mate is one of the most difficult life experiences you will have to face.”
Prayer services are to be held and counselling support offered for all those involved.
A 16-year-old girl is in a stable condition in hospital, while a further two teenagers were treated for injuries suffered during the incident.
The incident happened at the Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown on Sunday night with police investigations pointing toward a crush at the door which resulted in some people falling.
Several hundred people were trying to get into the venue after being dropped off by buses.
People struggled to get off the ground and there was confusion in the immediate aftermath between 9pm and 10pm on Sunday, police said.
Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd said: “Our heartfelt sympathy is with the family and friends of 16-year-old Connor Currie from the Dungannon area, 17-year-old Lauren Bullock from the Donaghmore area and 17-year-old Morgan Barnard from the Dungannon area who tragically lost their lives last night and all of those who were there and who may be suffering today.
“A major investigation is underway and I can confirm that a specialist team of detectives has now been assigned to the enquiry. They will seek to establish the full circumstances of this dreadful incident.
“This will be an extensive investigation with potentially hundreds of witnesses, many of whom are teenagers.
“The community will understand that this investigation will rightly be painstaking and detailed.
“We will proceed in a sensitive manner and our enquiries are likely to take some time to complete.
“I thank the Cookstown and wider community in advance for their patience and support.
“I would urge young people who were present at the Greenvale last night to please get in touch with MIT detectives.
“We need to know what you saw.
“I can understand that there may be some reluctance to contact police if you are underage, but please do not be concerned.
“We are investigating the deaths of three young people, young people just like you. That is our focus.
“We want to be able to give their families answers and your recollection of the events as they unfolded is crucial.
“Detectives can be contacted at the dedicated incident room at Dungannon police station by calling 101, extension 53055.
“Anyone with any images or footage can pass it to police via the following link: https://mipp.police.uk/operation/PSNI19O08-PO1.”