RNLI gather themselves for
MEMBERS of Buncrana
lifeboat crew were among 700 emergency responders
who took part in the 1916 Easter centenary
commemorations in Dublin at the weekend.
The local RNLI volunteers gathered themselves for
the national commemorations barely a week after the
most traumatic rescue and recovery mission in their
Four Donegal volunteers were among 50 from RNLI
stations nationwide who made the trip for the
historic parade. They were Paddy Murphy, Seamus
McDaid and Sean Quirke from Lough Swilly RNLI and
Shane Smyth from Bundoran RNLI.
Buncrana lifeboat crew members march
along with colleagues from other RNLI stations in
the national 1916 centenary commemorations on Easter
Sunday, March 27, 2016.
The Lough Swilly crew
were the first responders to the horrific multiple
drowning at their base at Buncrana Pier on Sunday,
March 20. Many of them said it was the saddest
mission they had encountered.
The freak accident claimed the lives of Derry dad
Sean McGrotty (46) his sons Mark (12) and Evan (8)
his mother-in-law Ruth Daniels (57) and her daughter
Jodie Lee (14).
Mr McGrotty's baby daughter Rioghnach Ann (4 mths)
was dramatically rescued when she was thrust by her
father into the hands of the Donegal footballer
Davitt Walsh who managed, exhausted, to get the baby
safely back to shore.
As communities in Inishowen and Derry are attempting
to resume normal activity in the wake of the
overwhelming loss of life, thoughts of
grief-stricken widow Louise Daniels (35) and her
daughter are not far from mind.
Fundraising to support the devastated family, both
online and locally, is continuing with the amount
gathered now approaching 100,000 euro.
Car washes, concerts and collection boxes are also
still being organised.
Meanwhile, Davitt Walsh's proud girlfriend made a
modest appeal to an Irish sporting legend yesterday
for a token to help lift her partner's spirits after
his harrowing ordeal.
Stephanie Knox, who also played a part in the
Rioghnach Ann's rescue, took to social media in a
bid to get a signed Ronan O'Gara rugby jersey.
"I was one of the rescuers of the Buncrana tragedy -
Davitt Walsh's girlfriend. I would love to get him a
signed top from @RonanOGara10, plz help," the
cardiac physiologist tweeted.
O'Gara was among the millions of people who were
deeply moved by the Kerrykeel footballer's powerful
interview on RTE's Six One News. A clip of his
harrowing eyewitness account has now been viewed
over 3.5 million times online.
"Such horrendous scenes from Buncrana. What a man
Davitt Walsh is," O'Gara tweeted his 335,000
followers while sending his sympathies to the
bereaved family and locals in Buncrana.