Sinn Féin candidate for the European Parliament Michelle Gildernew has stepped back from the campaign trail following the tragic death of her nephew.

The former Fermanagh South Tyrone MP is standing for election tomorrow (Friday) in the Republic of Ireland for the Midlands North West constituency.

Impartial Reporter:

Her nephew, 21-year-old Fiachra O’Faoláin died on Saturday evening following a tragic accident in Carrick Lough, he was from the Brantry area of County Tyrone.

In a statement, Ms Gildernew said: “Our hearts are broken following the death of our wonderful nephew Fiachra.  He was a funny, impulsive, kind and generous young man who will be missed so deeply by all of us.  My thoughts are with his parents and brothers and sisters who are experiencing the most unimaginable grief.

“I want to thank all of those people, from across Ireland and around the world, who have been in touch to send their sympathies and prayers to us. Your support means so much to the entire family at this time.  “I hope people will understand that I will not be on the election trail in the coming days as my family tries to cope with this awful tragedy. Farewell Fiachra a stór mo chroí.”

Impartial Reporter: Fiachra O’Faoláin Fiachra O’Faoláin (Image: Funeral Times)

His uncle, Colm Gildernew, Sinn Féin MLA for Fermanagh South Tyrone said: “Our immediate thoughts are with Fiachra’s mummy, our sister Fiona, daddy Shane and his siblings Dearbhla, Roisín, Méabh, Dáithí and Dualtách and the wider Ó Faoláin and Gildernew families at this immensely difficult time.

“Fiachra was a much loved, loving and caring young man with a bright future ahead of him and he will be remembered fondly by all who knew and loved him.

“On behalf of Fiachra’s family, and our wider family circle, I want to extend our sincerest thanks and gratitude to the emergency services for all of their efforts and support."

Mr. O’Faoláin’s funeral service will take place today (Thursday) at St. Joseph’s Church, Caledon.