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Martin McGuinness pays tribute Aaron Toland

17 September, 2007

Sinn Féin deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness MP, MLA has paid tribute to young Derry man Aaron Toland who lost his life in the Thai air disaster and expressed his hope that Aaron's friend Chris Cooley makes a full recovery from his injuries.

Martin McGuinness said:

"I offer my sincere condolences to my friends, Annemarie and Myles Toland and their family circle on the tragic loss of their beloved son and brother, Aaron. I would also like to offer my support and prayers to Bernie and Eddie Cooley and family at this traumatic time for them. I hope that Chris will have a full and speedy recovery.

"When I received the phone call informing me that Aaron, a young man that my family has known all of his short life was involved in the tragic air disaster in Thailand I was stunned. But to receive confirmation today that he is dead was absolutely devastating and I can only imagine the heartbreak that Annemarie, Myles and their family are experiencing at this time. My thoughts are with them.

"Too often we hear about the negative activities of a tiny minority of young people but here we had, in Aaron and Chris, two remarkable young men, who were an example of what is good and inspiring in the overwhelming majority of our young people. Aaron had so much to offer but sadly will not now fulfil his potential and we will all be the poorer for that but hopefully Chris will fully recover and go on to lead a full and productive life." ENDS

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