Buncrana tragedy: Irish Mail on Sunday apologises for publishing grieving Louise James' private comments

Buncrana tragedy: Irish Mail on Sunday apologises for publishing grieving Louise James' private comments

The Irish Mail on Sunday has apologised to Louise James, who lost five members of her immediate family in the Buncrana pier tragedy, for publishing comments she had thought were private.

Ms James had given comments to a reporter from the newspaper but had not consented to having those comments published, nor to being interviewed.

The Irish Mail on Sunday published an article containing her comments last weekend, and billed it 'exclusive'.

Its apology this morning reads: "Last Sunday, we published an article quoting from Louise James, who had lost her partner, mother, sister and two sons in the Buncrana tragedy.

"We wish to make it clear that Louise understood that she was speaking to our reporter in a purely private capacity and had not consented to being interviewed.

"She did not wish to give interviews to any media outlets.

"We are happy to make this clear and to apologise to Louise and her family for the upset caused."

Buncrana tragedy: Irish Mail on Sunday apologises for publishing grieving Louise James' private comments

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 the tragedy.

Her four-month-old baby Rionaghac-Ann was only saved by the actions of her partner Sean Mc Grotty in passing her out through the car window to local man Davitt Walsh.

Louise's family had requested privacy in the wake of the tragedy.

Meanwhile, writes journalist Linda McGrory, Louise's local priest has called for better self-regulation by the media during tragic events saying some press members "added to (her) pain", referring to previous press coverage.

Fr Paddy O'Kane has visited Louise (35) every day since the accident two weeks ago at Buncrana Pier.

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.

"I have visited Louise every day since it all happened. She is numb and can’t 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.

Writing in his weekly parish column, Donegal-born Fr O'Kane added: "While most media people were respectful of the family’s 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."

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," he said.

"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 unfolded.

More on this topic

'We will never forget': Buncrana Pier tragedy mother marks the two-year anniversary'We will never forget': Buncrana Pier tragedy mother marks the two-year anniversary

Mother sues Donegal council over Buncrana pier tragedyMother sues Donegal council over Buncrana pier tragedy

Buncrana tragedy will stay with RNLI members 'for a very long time'Buncrana tragedy will stay with RNLI members 'for a very long time'

'My heart is shattered,' says Louise James after Buncrana pier inquest'My heart is shattered,' says Louise James after Buncrana pier inquest

More in this Section

Two arrested after three waxwork heads stolen from museumTwo arrested after three waxwork heads stolen from museum

Apple contractors listened to 1,000 Siri recordings per shift, says former employeeApple contractors listened to 1,000 Siri recordings per shift, says former employee

Man seen repeatedly exposing himself on a busy Cork streetMan seen repeatedly exposing himself on a busy Cork street

Wheelchair users to take to the high seas on Cork's new 'inclusion powerboat'Wheelchair users to take to the high seas on Cork's new 'inclusion powerboat'


Lifestyle

Eating outdoors never looked so stylish.5 of the best cities for al fresco dining

Ultra-long haul flights from London to the east coast of Australia could be coming soon.What might happen to your body on a 19 hour flight to Sydney?

They’ve collaborated with influencer Lucy Williams and the collection is inspired by her birth year.Everything we know about the new collection by jewellery brand Missoma

Lauren Taylor catches up with last year’s Great British Menu winner who’s on a mission to make us love goat meat.Chef James Cochran: ‘People need to broaden their minds about eating goat’

More From The Irish Examiner