Donegal priest urges media not to
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
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
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
"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,"
"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