The family of Sister Clare Theresa Crockett – the Londonderry nun killed in a powerful earthquake in Ecuador at the weekend – are going through “a hugely traumatic ordeal”.
“As well as dealing with their grief, they are also dealing with the struggle to get her remains returned from Ecuador,” said Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness in a statement last night.
Mr McGuinness said his party was doing all it could to assist the family, who had appealed for their privacy to be respected at “this very testing time”.
Sister Clare, 33, was the last to be dug out of the rubble after a stairwell collapsed in the school where she taught in Playa Prieta in the western province of Manabi.
The Brandywell woman was a nun with the Servant Sisters of the Home of the Mother and taught 400 children in the Colegio Sagrada Familia school, including how to play the guitar.
Her cousin Emmet Doyle described her as “a superstar – everybody loved her”.
He said she was trying to help others down the stairs when the staircase collapsed and that “she died as she lived, helping others”.
The death toll from Saturday’s 7.8-magnitude quake has risen to 480, and 1,700 people are still missing.