Saturday 22 October 2016

'Something beautiful from horrible grief' as Glasgow unites around tragic family


THE family of Karen Buckley were united in grief with the city of Glasgow in mourning a beautiful young girl.

Hundreds of Glaswegians and Irish people in the city turned out as a mark of respect at an emotional vigil in memory of the occupational therapy student, whose body was found on Wednesday.

Devastated parents John and Marian Buckley were supported by their son Kieran (28) who had travelled from Australia to help in the search for the 24-year-old.

Karen's mother cried uncontrollably as she told the event organiser that she "still could not believe" that she has lost her only daughter.


Mrs Buckley (61) wept as she said: "I can't believe it, I just can't believe it. I still can't believe that this has happened."

Last night Mr Buckley (62) thanked everyone for their support and said he was coping with the help of his "strong family."

The farmer and his son hugged and shook hands with strangers while Mrs Buckley gratefully accepted shoulders to cry on.

A lone piper played a haunting Amazing Grace at the gathering as dozens of floral tributes and lit candles were left at the foot of Scott Monument in the city's George Square.

Cardboard signs lined the pavement with messages for the slain Cork nurse. Local woman Irene Wilson praised the Buckley family for their appearance at the impromptu event yesterday and said her heart was "breaking for them and Karen".

"I made the trip in here today to pay my respects," Ms Wilson said. "The family are so brave showing up here today."

Mr and Mrs Buckley also attended a small memorial at Glasgow Caledonian University earlier in the day where friends had left messages and flowers on steps to the college.

Heart-wrenching performances by singers echoed through the streets of Glasgow as the city came to a standstill yesterday afternoon.

Irish and Scots sang together a poignant rendition of Danny Boy and Cork man Barry Ahearn sang the county anthem Banks of My Own Lovely Lee.

Mr Ahearn, who like Karen is originally from the rebel county but now lives in Scotland, said he travelled from his home in Ayr to pay his respects.

"I've been living in Scotland for the last four years and wanted to come today to show solidarity and support for Karen's family," he said.

Members of the Glasgow Caledonian University GAA team were in attendance wearing their team tracksuits. The team stood silent holding candles on the edge of the large crowd.

Donal and Margaret McCarty, who were in Glasgow to visit their son, live close by to the Buckley family in Cork and said they came yesterday to "pray for Karen and her family."


The vigil was organised by former Scottish Socialist politician Rosie Kane who said she was overwhelmed by the turnout.

"I was expecting 30 people," she said. "But when I put it on Facebook the numbers started shooting up. I couldn't cope so I asked the police and council and they were only to happy to help. It seems that everyone has been devastated but we want to support Karen's family and show them the best side of the city.

"We also had a moment's silence to think about Karen's life, what we knew of her, about her family. We're trying to make something beautiful from that horrible, horrible grief."

She went on to say that she hoped "the blackness of the past few days may be illuminated by the city's love."

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