Bereaved Louise seeks support at month’s Mass for Buncrana drowning tragedy

Widow Louise James has asked friends to rally around her once again this week as she prepares to mark a month since the drowning tragedy that claimed five of her family at Buncrana Pier.

A large crowd is expected at Holy Family Church, Ballymagroarty, Derry, on Wednesday evening for the month’s mind mass for Sean McGrotty, 46, Mark, 12, and Evan McGrotty, 8; Ruth Daniels, 59, and Jodie Lee Daniels, 14.

Ms James, aged 35, took to social media yesterday to let people know about the service for her partner, two sons, mother, and little sister.

“Just a little reminder that the month’s mass for Sean, Mark, Evan, Jodie Lee and Ruth is this Wednesday at 7.15pm in Holy Family chapel, Ballymacgroarty,” she wrote on Facebook with an updated profile photograph of the family in happier times.

Meanwhile, local parish priest Fr Paddy O’Kane has organised a church envelope collection to help the family.

“This weekend we give out envelopes for the McGrotty/Daniels family. The proceeds will be given to Louise James to be used at her own discretion,” Fr O’Kane told churchgoers via the parish newsletter.

The accident happened when Mr McGrotty’s Audi 4x4 got into difficulty on the slipway of Buncrana Pier following a day trip to Co Donegal on March 20.

The vehicle reportedly slipped on algae into Lough Swilly and rapidly became submerged at evening high tide.

Kerrykeel footballer Davitt Walsh, aged 29, bravely swam out to the stricken family and managed to save four-month old baby Rioghanach Ann after she was thrust through the window by her father.

Mr Walsh recalled how Mr McGrotty then went back into the vehicle in a vain bid to help the rest of his family.

Meanwhile, an online fundraising drive to help the bereaved families has raised the Sterling equivalent of €110,000.

Derry-based Martin McGranaghan, who launched one of the Just Giving crowd-funding pages, said he was “lost for words” at the outpouring for the grief-stricken family.

“Over £66,000 raised in three weeks,” he said. “With one week left, let’s all give it one last push to raise as much as we (possibly) can and thank you to each and everyone of you that has already donated.”


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