Northern Ireland

Buncrana tragedy: Catholic Primate visits grieving family

The five victims of the drowning tragedy Image copyright Family photo
Image caption The victims were, from left, Mark McGrotty, 12, and Evan McGrotty, 8, Sean McGrotty, 49, Ruth Daniels, 57, and Jodie Lee Daniels, 14

The leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland has visited the woman who lost five family members in a drowning tragedy at Buncrana, County Donegal.

Louise James lost her partner Sean, her two sons Mark and Evan, her mother Ruth Daniels and her 14-year-old sister Jodie Lee Daniels in Sunday's accident.

The five victims were killed when their car slid off the pier and into the sea.

Ahead of his visit, Catholic Primate of All-Ireland, Archbishop Eamon Martin, described it as an "enormous tragedy".

The Derry native travelled back to his home city on Wednesday to pay his respects to Ms James, on the eve of a joint funeral for her loved-ones.

The only survivor of the accident was her four-month-old baby girl, Rionaghac-Ann, who was rescued by passer-by Davitt Walsh, who swam out to help the family.

"At a time like this I realise that any words of mine are totally inadequate," Archbishop Martin said.

Image caption Archbishop Eamon Martin said people from all over Ireland felt sympathy for the bereaved

"The enormous tragedy that has struck this family has stunned us all into silence. What can we say? All we can offer is our spiritual presence with them and the promise of our prayers.

"People from all over Ireland and beyond want to be close to all the bereaved in this time of grief and desolation.

"Even in the midst of such awful tragedy this family has made us all think of how precious and important our loved ones are to us."

Archbishop Martin also visited the Holy Family Parish Church in Derry to sign the book of condolence and meet clergymen who will officiate at the funeral service.

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