Monday 26 September 2016

Irish dad of four killed on skiing holiday in France

Rebecca Black

Published 29/02/2016 | 12:08

John Grugan
John Grugan
John Grugan (centre) with (from left) his wife Aileen, daughters Aoife and Shauna and sons Jack and Rory

Tributes have been paid to a popular Armagh father who has died in a tragic accident while on holiday in France.

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Father-of-four John Grugan, aged in his early 50s, is understood to have been on a skiing trip with friends at the time.

He is the father of County Armagh GAA player Rory Grugan, and was heavily involved with Ballymacnab Round Towers GAA.

A minute's silence was held in his memory on Saturday night before the National League match between Armagh and Fermanagh.

SDLP councillor Sharon Haughey-Grimley expressed her "deep shock and sadness".

"The entire Ballymacnab community are stunned by the very sad news of the tragic death of John Grugan," she said.

"John was well known across the GAA community as a former chairman of Ballymacnab Round Towers and his son Rory currently plays for the Armagh County team.

"As we await further information of what has tragically unfolded in France, my thoughts and prayers are very much with the Grugan family at this tragically sad time.

"I hope they find some comfort knowing that the entire community share in their sadness and grief."

Mr Grugan is survived by his wife Aileen, sons Rory and Jack and two daughters, Shauna and Aoife.

Armagh GAA released a statement saying its members are "deeply saddened" to hear of Mr Grugan's death.

"We offer our deepest sympathies to Rory and his family at this very sad time," they said.

Ballymacnab club has spoken of its sadness and confirmed that it is suspending all activities until further notice in memory of its former chairman.

Mr Grugan's son Rory and Jack both play for Ballymacnab and the family are well-known and respected in the area.

Club secretary Nelius Boyle told the Belfast Telegraph that Mr Grugan would be "sorely missed".

"Everyone is numb and shocked, can't take it in and can't imagine how his family must be feeling," he said.

"He was a very popular fella in the community, a bit of a character and great craic.

"He served as chairman for a few years and was a great leader, very positive. If the team did badly and people were down, he was always the one talking about lifting it next week and bringing everyone up again."

In a statement posted to its Facebook page, the club paid its formal tribute to Mr Grugan.

"It is with deep regret that we learn of the tragic death of our esteemed committee member, past chairperson and player, John Grugan", the statement said.

"The committee, players and members offer our deepest sympathy to his wife Aileen, sons Rory and Jack, daughters Aoife and Shauna and entire family circle.

"Please note Pairc na Gael is closed and all club activities are suspended until further notice".

Mr Grugan is originally from the Killyclogher area in Co Tyrone but moved to Ballymacnab, a short distance from Armagh, when he married his wife Aileen.

He worked as a businessman.

Belfast Telegraph

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