Heartbroken mother ‘now facing reality’ before funerals

The cortege of hearses bringing the victims home
The cortege of hearses bringing the victims home

The Londonderry mother whose partner, two sons, mother and younger sister drowned at Buncrana pier “has now been faced with reality”, a cleric has said.

Father Michael Canny, a Press spokesman for the Catholic church in Londonderry, said the presence of five coffins had “made it all very real”.

The scene in Buncrana on Monday morning

The scene in Buncrana on Monday morning

He added that she and her family “are just about coping”.

Ruth Daniels, 59, her 14-year-old daughter Jodie-Lee, her son-in-law Sean McGrotty and his sons Mark (12) and Evan (8) all died after the car they were in slid into the waters off the slipway at Buncrana pier on Sunday evening during a family trip.

Baby Rioghnach-Ann, the daughter of Mr McGrotty and his partner Louise James, was the sole survivor of the tragic accident, following the heroic intervention of local man Davitt Walsh, who jumped into the water and brought the baby back to shore.

Tomorrow the funeral procession for all five is expected to move off from St Eithne’s Park in Hazelbank for a 2pm funeral service in the Holy Family Church in Ballymagroarty.

Their burials will take place afterwards in the City Cemetery.

Meanwhile scores of floral tributes, teddy bears and ornaments have been left at Buncrana pier in memory of all those who died on Sunday.

And thousands of pounds has already been raised through fundraising efforts.

Londonderry man Marty McGranahaghan who started an online fundraising initiative spoke after his Just Giving Page sparked a massive response both locally and internationally.

Mr McGranaghan said he had initially been worried about meeting the £5,000 target set for the 30 day online campaign, and was stunned when the target was met four times over by Tuesday afternoon.

He said: “When something like this happens you want to do anything you can and the only thing I could do for them was fundraising. It is so tragic and it has really affected everyone. I don’t think there is anybody out there this hasn’t touched.

“I know myself how much money a funeral costs and in this case you are looking at five funerals. It is terrible at a time of trying to come to terms with losing relatives and bury your loved ones if you have to worry about the costs.

“When I set it up I thought that at least it runs for 30 days and that it would probably take that amount of time to raise £5,000, but it had reached that within a few hours. I had been worrying because if you don’t reach the target, it doesn’t happen, but the amount raised, it’s shocking. There have been a lot of support from here, and even from Australia and America.

“The pressure these people are going to take off the family, they are lifting a massive weight off their shoulders.

“It just goes to show how when a tragedy happens people unite and do what they can. Even it is only donating £1, that £1 goes a long way.”