Belfast Telegraph

Tragic mum Louise voices anger at 'unsafe' Buncrana slipway calling it an 'accident waiting to happen'

By Donna Deeney

After enduring two days of harrowing details of how five members of her family lost their lives at Buncrana Pier, Louise James described the tragedy as "an accident waiting to happen".

Ms James's partner Sean McGrotty (48), who was behind the wheel of the Audi Q7 car, died alongside the couple's two sons Mark (12) and Evan (8), Ms James's sister Jodie Lee Daniels (14) and her mother Ruth Daniels (58) on March 20, 2016.

A jury at the two-day inquest into the tragic loss of life returned a verdict of "death by misadventure" for each of the victims.

In a statement at the conclusion of the inquest read by her solicitor, Robert Anderson, Ms James paid tribute to her partner Sean McGrotty and thanked hero Davitt Walsh who saved the couple's baby girl Rioghnach-Ann.

She said: "It is with a heavy heart and great sadness that I have listened to the evidence that has emerged during the course of this inquest. There's simply no words capable of expressing my pain, my disbelief and my anger of what happened on that fateful day.

"My heart is shattered. Every moment of every day is filled with thoughts of my beautiful boys, Mark and Evan, my mother Ruth, my sister Jodie Lee and my partner Sean.

"The one ray of sunshine in my life is my beautiful daughter Rioghnach who survived this horrible tragedy and for that I must once again thank Davitt and all those others who helped to save her.

"I firmly believe the slipway should have been closed to the general public or else proper warning signs displayed as it was an accident waiting to happen."

The Londonderry woman said she hopes that lessons will be learned after the tragedy and that "the recommendations made following this inquest will be implemented".

She added: "Finally, regarding Sean, notwithstanding the evidence that has emerged, I wish to add, that he was a wonderful partner to me and an adoring father to his children.

"He lived for them and it is clear from what this inquest has heard that in fact he died as he lived, in that he could have saved himself but chose not to."

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