Northern Ireland

Ellen Finnegan: Fire victim's last words to dad were 'I love you'

Ellen Finnegan Image copyright Assumption Grammar School
Image caption Ellen Finnegan was a pupil at Assumption Grammar School in Ballynahinch and had just be offered a place at Liverpool University.

A priest has revealed that the father of a young woman killed in a fire in Castlewellan is taking solace from her last words which were "I love you dad".

Ellen Finnegan, who was 18, died in a blaze in her flat above the family's butcher's shop on Saturday.

It was the third anniversary of her mother's death from cancer. The cause of the fire still under investigation.

Ellen will be laid to rest after requiem Mass in St Malachy's church on Tuesday.

Fr Sean Rogan, who will be taking part in the funeral service, said Ellen had been "vibrant, full of joy, full of happiness, full of fun".

Ellen's father, Bartley, was due to have gone skiing on the morning the tragedy happened.

"The last thing she did before she went to bed, she rang her dad and she was so happy that she virtually sang the following words," Fr Rogan said.

"He said, she said 'I want to wish you dad a very, very happy time skiing and I want to tell you I love you, dad, I love you, I love you' and, if there is any solace at all for Bartley Finnegan at this time, that perhaps is one of the things that he will always, always appreciate.

"The last words that he heard from the daughter he loved were 'I love you'."

Image caption Ellen died in the fire in a flat above her father's butcher's shop in Castlewellan

The blaze broke out in the bedroom of the flat in Lower Square in the town at about 04:00 GMT on Saturday.

Despite efforts by paramedics to revive her, Ellen died at the scene.

Ellen, a pupil at Assumption Grammar School in Ballynahinch, was about to sit the last of her A-Levels and had just been offered a place at Liverpool University.

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