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Council chamber shocked to learn vice-chair’s grandson killed in M1 traffic accident

Phillip Rainey M1 crash
“There are no words. Everyone who knew and loved Phillip are just heartbroken.”

Members of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council were left shocked on being made aware the grandson of Vice-Chair, Councillor Allan Rainey, had been killed in a car crash.

Philip Rainey (21) from Ballygawley was on his way to visit his partner in hospital, who had just given birth to a baby boy, when the collision occurred on the M1 near Dungannon on September 7.

Emergency services dashed to the scene, but tragically Philip passed away from his injuries at the scene.

It fell to Ulster Unionist group leader Councillor Victor Warrington to break the news to members just ahead of the monthly Environmental Services meeting, after speaking with Councillor Rainey, who had advised him what occurred earlier that day.

He said Philip and his partner “had just had a baby, and he was going to the hospital to bring them home”.

He continued: “As you can imagine, it was quite a phone call from Councillor Rainey, as a cousin he was close to had died, and the remains were being removed.

“He had just come back from that, and there were police at his house.

“I feel it’s important to remember Councillor Rainey at this time. Understandably, he was quite distraught when I spoke to him.”

Committee Chair, Councillor John McClaughry, remarked: “I’m sure all councillors can understand the pain and hurt the Rainey family are feeling at this moment. We note this very sad news.”

Sinn Fein’s Councillor Tommy Maguire said: “We are all deeply shocked at this news and offer our support. We are all very sorry. It’s shocking.”

Speaking on behalf of the Democratic Unionists, Councillor Paul Robinson passed on condolences, as did Councillor Mary Garrity for the SDLP, who described the news as “terribly sad”.

Independent Councillor Emmet McAleer expressed sympathy with the Rainey family at “this time of terrible loss”.

Philip’s funeral took place on Sunday, September 11 at Clogherney Presbyterian Church, where mourners heard his “proudest moment” was when he held his baby son, Archie.

In his address, Reverend Robert McFaul said: “Mourning is difficult at all times. Today, because of the sudden nature of Phillip’s death, it is especially difficult.

“Everyone is in shock, and none of us can imagine what this is like for his family.

“Her Majesty, the late Queen Elizabeth II, said that ‘Grief is the price we pay for love’.

“The grief we are witnessing today is evidence that Phillip Rainey was loved; by his mother and father, his brother, sister, partner and wider family.”

Paying tribute to his adored grandson, Councillor Rainey would later say: “Phillip was a lovely lad, so modest. He put 100 per cent into everything he did and was so happy. He gave his all in anything he put his mind to.

“He was on his way to the hospital to bring his fiancée and newborn baby home to begin a new chapter in their life. What could be more pleasant?

“They had everything looking up for them, and for it to end so tragically out of nowhere … There are no words.

“Everyone who knew and loved Phillip are just heartbroken.”

Mr Rainey was laid to rest on Sunday following a funeral service at Clogherney Presbyterian Church.

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