Tributes paid after second road tragedy for Markethill family


Condolences have been extended to the Stewart family from Markethill after the death of a second member of the family in a road accident outside Newry on Saturday night.

Neil Stewart died after his motorbike was involved in a collision with another vehicle close to the junction of Appletree Hill shortly after 7pm.

His wife Sandra, who was a pillion passenger, was taken to hospital with serious injuries.

Mr Stewart, who was in his 40s, was the son of Betty and Jim Stewart, who are well-known in the Markethill area.

This is the second road accident to befall the family - Mr Stewart’s brother Howard was killed a number of years ago.

The family are closely involved with Markethill Festival and Markethill Horse and Pony Driving Club as well as the John Hunter Accordion Band.

Newry & Armagh DUP Assemblyman William Irwin has sympathised with the family.

He said, “This is 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 whole Stewart family circle and I understand the late Mr Stewart’s wife was pillion passenger and is currently in a serious but stable condition in hospital.

“I hope and pray that she makes a full recovery from her injuries.”

He added, “This sadly is not the first road fatality the Stewart family have suffered and that only adds immeasurably to the grief for the family. The Stewarts have contributed so much to the life of Markethill with Betty and Jim so dedicated to the festival in the town every year and this awful accident 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.”

Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon Borough Council Alderman Gareth Wilson said, “I want to express my deepest sympathy with the entire Stewart family circle at this very difficult time. My thoughts are also with the late Mr Stewart’s wife as she remains in hospital and I do hope and pray that she makes a full recovery. It is a shocking and deeply sad tragedy, made even more difficult for the Stewarts given the previous road tragedy which the family endured some years ago.”

Inspector Leslie Badger is appealing for anyone who was travelling on the Tandragee Road and who witnessed the collision to contact local officers in Newry or the Collision Investigation Unit on 101 quoting reference number 1277 of 30/09/17.