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My heartbreak over Buncrana tragedy, by model Marie Boyle who lost three of her family in blaze

By Angela Rainey

Published 28/03/2016

Model Marie Boyle
Model Marie Boyle
Marie Boyle’s parents Brian and Briege Boyle died along with their daughter Sasha in a fire at the family home in Rostrevor
Sasha died in a fire at the family home in Rostrevor
Marie weeps as she carries the coffin of Sasha

A model from Northern Ireland who lost three members of her family in a devastating house fire on her 21st birthday has said she was left heartbroken again after the Buncrana pier tragedy.

Both Marie Boyle's parents - Brian (50) and Briege (48) - and her sister Sasha (28) died in the Rostrevor blaze in January 1999 after they had celebrated the occasion.

Marie escaped through a skylight, helped by neighbours.

She left Northern Ireland for London after the tragedy and enjoyed a career in modelling and acting.

She has now moved home to give her four-year-old daughter Erin the same childhood experience she enjoyed in Co Down.

But Marie said the Co Donegal accident in which five members of a Londonderry family perished had brought back sad memories.

Louise James lost her partner Sean McGrotty, two sons Mark (12) and Evan (8), as well as her mother Ruth Daniels (59) and sister Jodi-Lee (14), when their car slid into the water from a slipway in Buncrana last Sunday.

"My heart is broken for them," Ms Boyle said.

"My brother Shane and I spoke about it and we're both really shocked.

"It's so sad to think another family has been wiped out. Our hearts go out to the family and to everyone involved. It's so harrowing.

"After the fire everyone came together for us, not just Northern Ireland but other countries. We got cards from people who'd just put our first names on the envelope, and that got us through."

Speaking to Sunday Life, Ms Boyle said it was the memories of the loving home her parents created that helped her get through her own tragic loss, as well as inspiring her return home.

"My heart is still broken and always will be broken," she said. "What we lost was huge and the stuff of nightmares, but I think we are doing really, really well, myself and my brother Shane and our family.

"I came from a family that was all about love and fun and we were all very close. It was a good springboard to set us up for the rest of our years."

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