Pier tragedy victims remembered
three years on
FIVE members of a
family who drowned at Buncrana Pier three years ago
today (Wednesday) have been remembered at mass this
Sean McGrotty (49), his sons Mark (12) and Evan (8)
died along with their grandmother Ruth Daniels (59)
and Ms Daniel’s daughter Jodie-Lee Daniels (14) in a
tragic accident at the Donegal pier on March 20,
The incident occurred when Mr McGrotty’s Audi Q7
vehicle slid off the pier into Lough Swilly at the
end of a day-trip to the seaside for the family from
The sole survivor of the tragedy was Mr McGrotty’s
four-month old daughter Rioghnach-Ann who was saved
by Kerrykeel man Davitt Walsh (32) who had swum out
to help the stricken family.
Pier tragedy: Clockwise, Sean
McGrotty, Ruth Daniels, Mark and Evan McGrotty, and
Jodie Lee Daniels.
Three years on to the
day, prayers were offered this morning at Holy
Family Church in Ballymagroarty, Derry city, by
local parish priest Fr Paddy O’Kane.
“We pray for Sean, Mark and Evan McGrotty, Ruth and
Jodie-Lee Daniels whose (third) anniversary occurs
today,” said the Donegal-born cleric.
“We welcome Evan’s class from St Eithne’s school,
who are here with us today. We ask God to console
all those who grieve at the loss of someone they
love,” he added.
An inquest in November 2017 heard harrowing evidence
of how the family became trapped inside the sinking
The inquest also heard that the driver of the
vehicle, Mr McGrotty, was three times over the
drink-drive limit at the time of the accident.
Jurors were told how the children’s mother Louise
James was returning from a rare trip away with
friends – a hen party in Liverpool – when news of
the horror reached her.
A verdict of death by misadventure was returned in
the case, with Ms James telling how there were
“simply no words capable of expressing my pain, my
disbelief, and indeed my anger at what happened on
that fateful day”.
Meanwhile, various legal actions are being pursued
in relation to the “horrible tragedy”.