DEPUTY First Minister, Martin McGuinness has led the tributes to the two young men tragically killed in a car accident in Kilrea at the weekend.
The men, named locally as Christopher O’Neill and Declan McKenna, were involved in the incident involving a blue BMW M3 car on the Agivey Road shortly after 3.30am on Saturday morning.
It is believed the vehicle may have hit a tree and then burst into flames.
Christopher was a rising figure in Sinn Fein and chairman of its Kilrea branch. He stood unsuccessfully for a seat on Coleraine Borough Council in the 2011 local government elections.
His grandfather John Davey, who survived Michael Stone’s attack at Milltown Cemetery in 1988, was a Sinn Fein councillor before he was murdered by loyalists in 1989.
Meanhile, Declan’s uncle, Noel McKenna, was a former SDLP mayor of Derry City.
The pair, who both attended St Paul’s College, had been returning home from a night out when the fatal crash occured.
Leading tributes the Deputy First Minister expressed his shock at the deaths: “Declan McKenna and Christopher O’Neill were close friends and died together in this tragic accident. Republicans in County Derry and beyond are deeply shocked at this terrible news.”