Buncrana: Mother spoke to family by phone half an hour before tragedy

Sinn Fein Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness visited family in Derry

Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness at the scene at Buncrana Pier in Co Donegal after five people were  killed. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness at the scene at Buncrana Pier in Co Donegal after five people were killed. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

 

A woman who lost her partner, her two sons, her mother and her sister in the Buncrana pier tragedy was being comforted by friends and family in Derry today.

Those who died were Sean McGrotty (49), his sons Mark (12), and Evan (8), his mother in law Ruth Daniels (59) and Ruth’s daughter Jodie Lee Daniels (14).

Mr McGrotty lived with his wife Louise and their children at St Eithne’s Park in the Ballymagroarty area of Derry.

The couple’s baby Rionaghac-Ann, who is only four months old, was rescued.

About half an hour before the tragedy Louise McGrotty and her family were in contact with each other by phone, it emerged.

She was returning from a hen party in England when she was in contact with her family.

Her family were telling her of the great day out they were having, according to Sinn Fein Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness .

Mr McGuinness travelled to Buncrana pier to pay tribute to the rescue services and also to praise the man from Kerrykeel, Co Donegal who rescued the four-month-old baby girl - sister of the boys who died.

Mr McGuinness said he visited the “heartbroken” home in Derry today.

“It is a very, very sad house,” he said. “Fortunately the baby has survived. That is the only thing the young woman has to hold onto.

“You never get over a situation where five members of a family lose their lives. Everybody is in a total state of shock, a total state of disbelief,” said Mr McGuinness.

“The young woman is completely devastated, as are all the family circle around her. All we can do, as much as is possible, is to throw our arms around the family and do everything we possibly can to help them through this terrible, terrible trauma.”