Buncrana pier tragedy: Schools united in shock at loss of brothers

Brothers Evan (right) and Mark McGrotty were among the five people who died in the tragedy
Brothers Evan (right) and Mark McGrotty were among the five people who died in the tragedy

The principals of the two schools attended by the young McGrotty brothers who died in the Buncrana pier tragedy have spoken of the shockwaves their deaths have caused.

Both school principals paid tribute to their popular and talented young students and spoke of the major impact their loss will have on the school communities.

Terence McDowell, principal of St Eithne’s Primary School where eight-year-old Evan was a pupil, said: “We are still in shock at what has happened at the weekend and we, as a school, are trying to process this terrible tragedy.

“Evan was a much-loved, bright, enthusiastic child who was a joy to teach.

“Support and guidance will be provided to children and staff at this sad time as our school community tries to deal with this.”

Mr McDowell added: “Our thoughts, prayers and sincerest condolences are with the whole family at this time.”

Meanwhile, Damien Harkin, principal of St Joseph’s Boys’ School in Creggan, where Mark, 12, was a pupil, said they too were still trying to process what has happened.

“Mark was such a popular pupil and everyone at St Joseph’s Boys’ School is deeply affected by this news,” Mr Harkin said.

“Mark was a bright, friendly, outgoing student who was a pleasure to teach and added so much to his form class. Everyone who knew him will be greatly saddened by this loss.”

Mr Harkin added: “We are providing all the appropriate support services to pupils and staff at this difficult time, and it will take us some time as a school community to come to terms with this.

“Our thoughts and prayers are first and foremost with the family and we will do everything we can as a school community to support them in the coming days.”