Monday marked the second anniversary of the horrific attack on Irishwoman Natasha McShane, 25. The young Newry, County Down woman was on holiday in Chicago when she was attacked by a bat wielding mugger.
Speaking to the Newry Times, SDLP Councillor Geraldine Donnelly expressed her solidarity with the McShane family, adding that the pointless and brutal attack had robbed her of the huge potential that lay before her.
"Thankfully those responsible for inflicting the horrific injuries on her have been apprehended, sentenced and are now in prison. And while that is some consolation to the family, Natasha may have to entire the result of their actions for the rest of her life. Natasha and her family are constantly in my thoughts and I pray that her condition may improve as time goes on."
SDLP MLA Dominic Bradly echoed Councillor Donnelly's words. "As we approach brain injury week the dreadful attack on Natasha illustrates the effect violence to the individual has on a persons life. My thoughts are with Natasha and her family at this time and I can only hope and pray that the love and care of her family and the prayers of the community will help to bring a positive change to her condition."
Speaking to the Newry Times, Colman Burns of Sinn Fein said: "Having known and worked with Natasha in the course of her studies as a student, I find it deeply upsetting that this talented young girl has been prevented from reaching her goals due to this one moment of callous madness. It is satisfying that their persons involved are now locked up but it does nothing to ease the burden of the family who has to live with the consequences on a daily basis. Our thoughts are with Natasha and her family who have had to adjust their lives to cope with the terrible circumstances of this horrid attack."