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

Donegal pier tragedy - heartbreak for McGrotty and Daniels families [photos] Close

Evan McGrotty, aged eight, died alongside his father Sean McGrotty (49), 12-year-old brother Mark, grandmother Ruth Daniels, 59, and her 14-year-old daughter, Jodie Lee Daniels, when their SUV sank after sliding off a "slippery as ice" slipway in Buncrana in March 2016.

Evan McGrotty, aged eight, died alongside his father Sean McGrotty (49), 12-year-old brother Mark, grandmother Ruth Daniels, 59, and her 14-year-old daughter, Jodie Lee Daniels, when their SUV sank after sliding off a "slippery as ice" slipway in Buncrana in March 2016.

Louise McGrotty with baby Rioghnach-Ann, who survived the tragedy, and son Evan (8), who lost his life

Louise McGrotty with baby Rioghnach-Ann, who survived the tragedy, and son Evan (8), who lost his life

Jodie Lee Daniels

Jodie Lee Daniels

Remains of the five members of the same family who drowned at Buncrana pier are taken to the family home on Tuesday morning. Photo: Joe Boland / Press Eye

Remains of the five members of the same family who drowned at Buncrana pier are taken to the family home on Tuesday morning. Photo: Joe Boland / Press Eye

Sean McGrotty

Sean McGrotty

Proud granny Ruth Daniels gives Mark and Evan McGrotty a hug

Proud granny Ruth Daniels gives Mark and Evan McGrotty a hug

Sean McGrotty (49) with son Mark (12)

Sean McGrotty (49) with son Mark (12)

Ruth Daniels (59) with daughter Jodi-Lee (14)

Ruth Daniels (59) with daughter Jodi-Lee (14)

Sean McGrotty and his two sons Evan and Mark died at the scene. His partner Louise wasn’t present at the time of the tragedy, but her baby Rioghnach-Ann, whom she is cradling here, was rescued

Sean McGrotty and his two sons Evan and Mark died at the scene. His partner Louise wasn’t present at the time of the tragedy, but her baby Rioghnach-Ann, whom she is cradling here, was rescued

Remains of the five members of the same family who drowned at Buncrana pier are taken to the family home on Tuesday morning. Photo: Joe Boland / Press Eye

Remains of the five members of the same family who drowned at Buncrana pier are taken to the family home on Tuesday morning. Photo: Joe Boland / Press Eye

Jodi-Lee playing with nephew Evan

Jodi-Lee playing with nephew Evan

Remains of the five members of the same family who drowned at Buncrana pier are taken to the family home on Tuesday morning. Photo: Joe Boland / Press Eye

Remains of the five members of the same family who drowned at Buncrana pier are taken to the family home on Tuesday morning. Photo: Joe Boland / Press Eye

The family’s Q7 which slid into Lough Swilly

The family’s Q7 which slid into Lough Swilly

Buncrana pier tragedy: Former Ballymena United footballer Davitt Walsh heroically dived into the water and saved baby. Image: RTE News

Buncrana pier tragedy: Former Ballymena United footballer Davitt Walsh heroically dived into the water and saved baby. Image: RTE News

Mark (12) and eight-year-old Evan.

Mark (12) and eight-year-old Evan.

The scene at the pier in Buncrana Co Donegal. Picture Colm Lenaghan/  Pacemaker

The scene at the pier in Buncrana Co Donegal. Picture Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker

The scene at the pier in Buncrana Co Donegal. Picture Margaret McLaughlin

The scene at the pier in Buncrana Co Donegal. Picture Margaret McLaughlin

The scene at the pier in Buncrana Co Donegal. Picture Margaret McLaughlin

The scene at the pier in Buncrana Co Donegal. Picture Margaret McLaughlin

Sean McGrotty

Sean McGrotty

The scene at the pier in Buncrana Co Donegal. Picture Margaret McLaughlin

The scene at the pier in Buncrana Co Donegal. Picture Margaret McLaughlin

The scene at the pier in Buncrana Co Donegal. Picture Margaret McLaughlin

The scene at the pier in Buncrana Co Donegal. Picture Margaret McLaughlin

Ruth Daniels

Ruth Daniels

The scene at the pier in Buncrana Co Donegal. Picture Colm Lenaghan/  Pacemaker

The scene at the pier in Buncrana Co Donegal. Picture Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker

Jodie Lee Daniels.

Jodie Lee Daniels.

The scene at the pier in Buncrana Co Donegal. Picture Colm Lenaghan/  Pacemaker

The scene at the pier in Buncrana Co Donegal. Picture Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker

Jodie-Lee Daniels.

Jodie-Lee Daniels.

Photopress Belfast

Martin McGuinness at the pier in Buncrana Co Donegal. Picture Colm Lenaghan/  Pacemaker

Martin McGuinness at the pier in Buncrana Co Donegal. Picture Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker

Jodie Lee Daniels

Jodie Lee Daniels

Photopress Belfast

Garda Superintendent Colm Nevin speaks to the media.
 Picture Colm Lenaghan/  Pacemaker

Garda Superintendent Colm Nevin speaks to the media. Picture Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker

John McCarthy from the RNLI at the Pier in Buncrana Co Donegal. Picture Colm Lenaghan/  Pacemaker

John McCarthy from the RNLI at the Pier in Buncrana Co Donegal. Picture Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker

Flowers left  at the Scene at the Pier in Buncrana Co Donegal. Picture Colm Lenaghan/  Pacemaker

Flowers left at the Scene at the Pier in Buncrana Co Donegal. Picture Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker

Flowers left  at the Scene at the Pier in Buncrana Co Donegal. Picture Colm Lenaghan/  Pacemaker

Flowers left at the Scene at the Pier in Buncrana Co Donegal. Picture Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker

Jodie Lee Daniels

Jodie Lee Daniels

Photopress Belfast

Francis Crawford Who raised the alarm,  at the Scene at the Pier in Buncrana Co Donegal, after Five people, including children, have died after a car went off a pier. Picture Colm Lenaghan/  Pacemaker

Francis Crawford Who raised the alarm, at the Scene at the Pier in Buncrana Co Donegal, after Five people, including children, have died after a car went off a pier. Picture Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker

Francis Crawford Who raised the alarm,  at the Scene at the Pier in Buncrana Co Donegal, after Five people, including children, have died after a car went off a pier. Picture Colm Lenaghan/  Pacemaker

Francis Crawford Who raised the alarm, at the Scene at the Pier in Buncrana Co Donegal, after Five people, including children, have died after a car went off a pier. Picture Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker

Garda at the Scene at the Pier in Buncrana Co Donegal, after Five people, including children, have died after a car went off a pier.  Picture Colm Lenaghan/  Pacemaker

Garda at the Scene at the Pier in Buncrana Co Donegal, after Five people, including children, have died after a car went off a pier. Picture Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker

Francis Crawford Who raised the alarm,  at the Scene at the Pier in Buncrana Co Donegal, after Five people, including children, have died after a car went off a pier. Picture Presseye

Francis Crawford Who raised the alarm, at the Scene at the Pier in Buncrana Co Donegal, after Five people, including children, have died after a car went off a pier. Picture Presseye

Francis Crawford Who raised the alarm,  at the Scene at the Pier in Buncrana Co Donegal, after Five people, including children, have died after a car went off a pier. Picture Presseye

Francis Crawford Who raised the alarm, at the Scene at the Pier in Buncrana Co Donegal, after Five people, including children, have died after a car went off a pier. Picture Presseye

Francis Crawford Who raised the alarm,  at the Scene at the Pier in Buncrana Co Donegal, after Five people, including children, have died after a car went off a pier. Picture Joe Bolan / Press Eye

Francis Crawford Who raised the alarm, at the Scene at the Pier in Buncrana Co Donegal, after Five people, including children, have died after a car went off a pier. Picture Joe Bolan / Press Eye

Tributes left at the scene of the tragedy. Picture Colm Lenaghan/  Pacemaker

Tributes left at the scene of the tragedy. Picture Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker

Emergency services on the pier at Buncrana after yesterday’s tragic accident

Emergency services on the pier at Buncrana after yesterday’s tragic accident

Rescue services at the pier in Buncrana where a family of five perished after their car slide into Loch Swilly

Rescue services at the pier in Buncrana where a family of five perished after their car slide into Loch Swilly

The pier in daylight

The pier in daylight

Algae on the slipway which would have made it difficult for the vehicle to get any traction

Algae on the slipway which would have made it difficult for the vehicle to get any traction

An Audi Q7 like the one in which the family got trapped

An Audi Q7 like the one in which the family got trapped

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Evan McGrotty, aged eight, died alongside his father Sean McGrotty (49), 12-year-old brother Mark, grandmother Ruth Daniels, 59, and her 14-year-old daughter, Jodie Lee Daniels, when their SUV sank after sliding off a "slippery as ice" slipway in Buncrana in March 2016.

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.

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"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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