Rail tragedy to be acknowledged with unveiling of plaque to dead

 

Twenty-five years on, the tragedy will be officially acknowledged for the first time today with the unveiling of a plaque bearing the names of those who died, and comes after seven months of work by the Buttevant Rail Disaster Commemorative Committee.

Terri O'Gorman, spokeswoman of the 12-strong commemoration committee, which has received support from Iarnród Éireann and Cork County Council, had succeeded in making contact with relatives or representatives of 14 of the 18 people who died.

"Moyra Woodworth who lost her husband Bruce in the tragedy is on the committee and she's been a great sounding board. If Moyra feels something is okay, then at least we can say we consulted the relatives about it and they're okay with it," said Terri. "Twenty-five years is a long while in terms of getting a memorial organised but there are still people who don't want to talk about it and we hope that this will allow people remember the tragedy in a way that may help heal any wounds that have been reopened."

Among those coming to Buttevant for the commemoration are English couple Philip and Gail Pitt. They were on their holidays in Ireland at the time with their children, Amanda (8), Andrew (5), and Gail's parents Ann and Sam Corke. Mr Corke lost his life in the tragedy and Gail, who suffered a fractured leg, was still in hospital and unable to attend her own father's funeral. Revisiting Buttevant and Ireland for the first time since the tragedy will be painful for her. "It's going to be upsetting but I need to go. It's been difficult to accept, it fades but it never leaves you. But having a commemoration is a marvellous thing to have. It's my way of saying goodbye to my father," said Gail who lives in Gloucestershire.

Derek Fox will also find the trip to Buttevant painful. He lost his friend and workmate in the dining car, Mark Barron also just 17, in the accident but he believes that marking the tragedy is long overdue.

"I haven't been back to Buttevant since but I've always felt that something should have been done in terms of a memorial. There was never any recognition, 25 years is just a blink of an eye but in another 25 years, it will hardly be living history anymore."