Buncrana pier tragedy: Hundreds gather in Donegal and Derry

Louise James Image copyright RTÉ
Image caption Ms James thanked people for their "support"

Hundreds of people have gathered in County Donegal and Londonderry to mark a week since a family drowned off the Irish coast

Louise James's partner, two sons, mother and sister died when their car slid off Buncrana pier and entered Lough Swilly on 20 March.

Ms James, along with family members and witnesses, took part in a ceremony held close to the pier on Sunday.

Vigils were also held in Strathfoyle and the Guildhall in Londonderry.

Image copyright RTÉ
Image caption Flowers encircle the now locked gate and warning signs at the pier

Four-month old Rionaghac-Ann was the only survivor.

She was rescued by passer-by Davitt Walsh after the car slipped into the water.

Image copyright RTÉ
Image copyright RTÉ
Image caption Just one of the many messages of support

Louise James spoke briefly at the ceremony, expressing her gratitude to "everybody for your words of support, kindness, generosity, everything".

"Thank you so much," she added.

Ms James, along with her four-month-old daughter, sat beside Francis and Kay Crawford who had raised the alarm last Sunday night.

Image copyright RTÉ
Image copyright RTÉ
Image caption Crowds gathered in Buncrana

Local parish priest Father Francis Bradley said Louise James had shown courage.

"She has exhibited tremendous strength and dignity over the past week, especially at her home during the wake and the funeral mass," he said.

"For somebody who is naturally shy it is not an easy thing to do but she just feels the need to thank people for their kindness."

Image copyright RTÉ
Image caption Father Francis Bradley said the community was united in solidarity

Five floral tributes were set afloat on the sea in memory of the five loved ones she lost.

A locked gate now blocks access from the pier area and warning signs have been erected.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Hundreds of mourners joined the McGrotty and Daniels families as they walked to the church

Hundreds of mourners lined streets in Londonderry on Thursday as hearses carrying the five victims made their way to Holy Family Church for the funeral service.

Jim McGrotty, a brother of Sean, said his brother's efforts to save his family had been the ultimate display of his love for them.

"Sean's love for his family was proven, if proof was ever needed, with his selfless actions on last Sunday evening," he said.

Image caption People gathered in Londonderry in front of the Guildhall

In Derry, people came together at Guildhall Square to show their support.

There was a minute's silence as the Guildhall clock struck seven.

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