Bishop leads prayers for Buncrana pier victims
The Bishop of Derry has offered his thoughts and prayers to the families and friends of five people, including three children, who died after a car went off a pier in County Donegal.
Ruth Daniels, 57, her daughter Jodie Lee Daniels, 14, Sean McGrotty, 49, and his sons Mark, 12, and Evan McGrotty, eight, were killed when their car entered the water at Buncrana on Sunday (20th March). A passer-by managed to rescue a four-month-old baby girl who was in a stable condition in hospital.
“As we enter Holy Week, the thoughts of Christians turn to the death of Christ on the Cross on Calvary,” said Bishop Donal McKeown. “Suffering, which is so evident during Holy Week, can be a very challenging part of our experience of human life and of our lives as Christians.”
The bishop had visited a local woman and the family circle of those affected by the tragedy, and expressed sympathy on behalf of the people of the diocese of Derry, adding, “There are no adequate words in the face of such pain”.
He offered his thoughts and prayers to the bereaved, in particular a grieving mother. “I ask the people of the diocese to keep this family in your thoughts and prayers over the coming days and weeks. I pray for the recovery of the young child and for the man who was injured while assisting at the scene. “I pray also for those who witnessed the traumatic events and the emergency services who attended.”
Bishop McKeown stressed the importance of the emergency services, who are depended upon each day in tragic circumstances. “We owe a debt of gratitude to those who assisted at Buncrana. May Christ, who suffered on the Cross on Calvary, be with all those touched by this painful event.”
Authorities praised the actions of by-stander Davitt Walsh, who swam out to reach the car and rescued Rionaghac-Ann, aged four months. She was passed to him by her father, who, Mr Walsh said, chose to stay with his family rather than save himself.
Mr Walsh described how the father handed him the infant out of the broken driver’s side window just moments before the Audi Q7 sank. “The father looked at me and he had to make a decision,” he said. “He could have saved himself because he was out of the car but he went back into his family and I couldn’t do anything else. The car went down instantly and the whole lot of them went down, it was just so fast. I took the baby back to the shore.”
In an interview with RTE, Co Donegal man Mr Walsh added: “I think the father knew that I was only going to be able to save one person and he said to me, ‘save the baby’ and he stayed and he went back in and he stayed with his family and the car just disappeared.”
Mr McGrotty’s wife Louise was said to be inconsolable. Her local priest, Fr Paddy O’Kane, said he had visited the bereaved woman who told him ‘I have lost everyone, except little Rionaghac-Ann’. She is my reason to go on’.”Tags: Bishop Donal McKeown, Bishop McKeown, Bishop of Derry, Buncrana, Co Donegal, County Donegal