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Heartbreak for Co Armagh family as they suffer second tragedy on same road

This is the second brother to be killed in an accident on same road

The man who died in a road traffic collision outside Newry on Saturday night has been named locally.

He was Neil Stewart, a married father-of-six – two daughters and four sons – from Markethill.

His wife Sandra was also seriously injured in the accident.

A son of Betty and Jim Stewart, this is the second time they have suffered loss in such tragic circumstances.

Another son, Howard, died after the lorry he was driving was involved in a collision on the same road some years ago.

The Stewart family are well-known in the Markethill area.

They are veteran members of the John Hunter Accordion Band in Mountnorris and are deeply involved in Markethill Festival and Markethill Horse and Pony Driving Club.

Each year a memorial fundraising concert is held as part of the Markethill Festival in memory of Howard.

Friends have been paying tribute to Mr Stewart – who was aged in his 40s – on social media, where he was described as “a true gentleman”.

The collision involving the motorcycle and another vehicle occurred close to the junction of Appletree Hill and was reported to police shortly after 7pm on Saturday.

Newry and Armagh DUP Assemblyman William Irwin has offered his sympathies to Mr Stewart’s family and to a female pillion passenger seriously injured in the collision.

Mr Irwin said: “This is a an awful tragedy and here we have yet another family plunged into grief due to a fatality on our roads.

“My sympathies are with the family circle of the deceased gentleman and I hope and pray that the female pillion passenger recovers from her injuries.

“It really is such a terrible tragedy and brings again into sharp focus the very real dangers on our roads.

“I would echo calls by police for anyone who may have witnessed the crash to contact the PSNI and assist with their inquiries.”

Ulster Unionist Councillor, Jim Speers MBE, also expressed his sympathy to the family.

Alderman Speers said: “My thoughts and prayers are with this man`s family. It is devastating news for them. I hope that the lady pillion passenger makes a full recovery.

“It is an absolute tragedy and it is horrendous to think what his mother and father, and wider family circle are going through.

“The family are very well known and respected throughout the Markethill area and it is hard to take in that a tragedy like this could happen to them. The whole community will rally round to offer sympathy and support.”

SDLP Councillor Sharon Haughey-Grimley has expressed her sadness and offered condolences to the family.

Cllr Haughey said: “My heart and prayers go out to Betty and Jim Stewart and to Neil’s wife and children at this terribly difficult time. I also wish his wife Sandra, who was his pillion passenger, a full and speedy recovery, although her loss will mean nothing will be the same again.

“It is utterly devastating that the Stewart family have to come through such heartbreak again, already knowing the cruel dangers of our roads having lost a son previously. The entire community is stunned and share in their grief.

“I hope they find strength in the thoughts and prayers of local people, at a time when they need it most. May he rest in peace.”

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