Belfast Telegraph

Donegal pier deaths a living nightmare, says victim’s brother

By George Jackson

Relatives of the five victims of the drowning tragedy have told of their “unspeakable heartbreak” at the circumstances in which their loved ones perished.

Those who died were Sean McGrotty (49), his sons Mark (12) and Evan (8), his mother-in-law Ruth Daniels (59), and Ruth’s daughter Jodi-Lee Daniels (14).

Sean lived with his wife Louise and their children in the family home at St Eithne’s Park in the Ballymagroarty area of Derry.

Ruth lived with Jodi-Lee and four sons Joshua, who plays for Derry City, Kyle, Nathan and Jonathan at Ederowen, also in the city.

Louise McGrotty had just returned from a family event in England on Sunday night only to be told that her husband, her two sons, her mother and her sister had all died in the tragedy. The bodies of the five victims will arrive home today and their funerals will take place on Thursday afternoon.

Sean’s brother Jim McGrotty said they’ve all been living a nightmare since news of the tragedy unfolded.

“I was sitting at home when news of the tragedy started to emerge last night. My thoughts were for the families of those involved. Little did I realise then that it was my own family members who had died,” he said.

“On behalf of the family we want to thank that brave man who swam into the sea and who saved Louise’s baby Rioghnach-Ann.

“There has been a constant stream of callers arriving at the house since word of who was involved has become public.

“Words cannot express the enormity of the tragedy which has befallen our family. We are all numbed by this tragedy which has visited us. If there is anything good which has come out of it, it’s the fact that Rioghnach-Ann has been saved.

“My brother Sean was the most devoted of fathers and husbands. He idolised his children.

“Mark was a first year student at St Joseph’s Secondary School and Evan his brother, who had muscular dystrophy, was a pupil at St Eithne’s Primary School. The principals of the schools visited the family home this morning and it was clearly distressing for them.”

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