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Donegal priest urges media not to worsen tragedies 04.04.16

A PRIEST has called for better self-regulation by the media during tragic events saying some press members "added to the pain" of a young woman who lost five members of her family in the Co Donegal drowning tragedy.
Fr Paddy O'Kane said he has visited Louise James (35) every day since the accident two weeks ago at Buncrana Pier.
He said the young Derry widow is "numb" and struggling to take in the enormity of the loss she suffered on the night of Sunday, March 20.
Ms James lost her husband Sean McGrotty (46); their sons Mark (12) and Evan (8); her mother Ruth Daniels (57) and her little sister Jodie Lee Daniels (14) in the tragedy.
Her infant daughter Rioghnach Ann (4 mths) survived after her father thrust her from his Audi 4x4 into the hands of Davitt Walsh who had heroically swum out to the stricken vehicle as it sank in Lough Swilly.
"I have visited Louise every day since it all happened. She is numb and canít take in the enormity of it all," said Fr O'Kane of Ballymagroarty parish in Derry city.
"She laughs when telling me funny stories about Sean and the children and she cries."
The tragedy was among the worst Ireland has seen and dominated news for over a week.
Culdaff-born Fr O'Kane added: "While most media people were respectful of the familyís need for privacy, some were not, and added to their pain.
"The media badly needs self-regulation. While so quick to point the finger of blame at others they are often slow to see their own short-comings," he wrote in his weekly parish article.
Fr Paddy O'Kane.
A Sunday newspaper apologised yesterday after publishing comments Louise thought she was saying in a private capacity.
Meanwhile, he said many people had commented on the strength Ms James had shown in the immediate aftermath of the accident.
"People have remarked how strong she has been, not only saying the poem and those words to Davitt at the funeral but also going to Buncrana on Sunday evening where she thanked those who came to the prayer service at the shore front. I also attended," he said.
"Just before that she went to the pier with her immediate family and floated out five little angel figurines," he added.
Fr O'Kane is in his 60s and has served for many years in the cross-border Derry Diocese. He thanked his fellow clerics including Bishop of Derry Donal McKeown for their support as the local tragedy unfolded.
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