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Tributes pour in as McAleese calls families

PRESIDENT Mary McAleese contacted the Harte and McAreavey families yesterday to offer her sympathies as tributes poured in for Michaela.

GAA president Christy Cooney said: "Our thoughts and prayers are with Michaela's family and the wider Harte family, her husband John and the McAreaveys at this tragic time.

"Michaela was a familiar face to so many GAA followers. Her radiant smile, passion for life and interest in all things Gaelic were obvious to anyone who crossed her path and the loss to those who loved her most must be incalculable at this time."

Former Tyrone star Pete Canavan said: "She was very like Mickey -- great at anything she put her hand to. She shared in the success of the Tyrone teams. There is a great feeling of anger and questions as to why this had to happen to her and the family."

Bishop of Dromore John McAreavey, who officiated at the wedding of Michaela to his nephew, also John McAreavey, said: "She was the love of his life, he absolutely adored her and talked about her with such warmth," he said.

"He loved everything about her -- her faith, her personality, her love for things Gaelic and Irish and her sparkle. I have a sense that a light has gone out with the death of Michaela."


The Church of Ireland Bishop of Derry also sent his sympathies to her grieving family.

Bishop Ken Good said: "This is a cruel blow for the family and a moment of great sadness for the GAA community."

Sinn Fein MLA Barry McElduff travelled out to help the Harte and McAreavey families last night. He said: "I know the Harte family personally and I am hoping to meet Michaela's brother Mark and her brother-in-law Brian out there."

Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson has also offered his condolences.

A Facebook site dedicated to the former Rose of Tralee contestant and school teacher had already amassed more than 7,000 followers last night.

Irish Independent