Category: Archive

Phuket flight victim mourned in Derry City

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

Hundreds of mourners lined the road outside St Columba’s Church as the funeral cortege arrived. The procession into the church was led by the dead man’s parents, Myles and Ann Marie Toland, and by his brothers, Keenan, Conan and Emmett, his identical twin.
The Rev. Kieran Page praised the young crash victim’s aunt, Deputy Mayor of Derry Patricia Logue, Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, a close personal friend of the Tolands, and the Irish Department for Foreign Affairs representative attending the funeral, Joe Hackett, for the help they’d given the bereaved parents since the tragedy. “It does your heart proud in very difficult circumstances to see people pulling together and doing whatever they can for the Toland family,” Page said.
Toland’s friend Christopher Cooley, who was sitting next to him on the flight, survived the crash and is still recovering in a Thai hospital.
In a statement beforehand, McGuinness – a close personal friend of the Toland family – praised the Irish ambassador to Malaysia Eugene Hutchinson, whose brief covers Thailand, for the speed and sensitivity shown by consular staff in helping the Toland and Cooley families. County Derry native Hutchinson was Ireland’s consul general in New York from 2001 to 2005.
“I spoke at length to Ambassador Hutchinson and conveyed my appreciation for the assistance he extended to the family of Aaron Toland during what has been a heart-rending journey for them going to bring home the body of their beloved son,” McGuinness said.
The deputy first minister also thanked the ambassador and his staff for the facilities they made available to the Cooley family while they awaited their son to recover sufficiently to be able to travel home.
McGuinness said he had also received calls from Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and Foreign Affairs Minister Dermot Ahern extending condolences to the Toland family and best wishes to the Cooley family.

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