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MP slams The Fall beach scene after Donegal pier drowning tragedy

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Harrowing scene from The Fall

Harrowing scene from The Fall

Harrowing scene from The Fall

Harrowing scene from The Fall

Harrowing scene from The Fall

Harrowing scene from The Fall

HUNTING SEASON: Gillian Anderson as DSI Stella Gibson and Jamie Dornan as Paul Spector in The Fall

HUNTING SEASON: Gillian Anderson as DSI Stella Gibson and Jamie Dornan as Paul Spector in The Fall

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Jamie Dornan in The Fall

Jamie Dornan in The Fall

Jamie Dornan in The Fall series 3. Pic: BBC

Jamie Dornan in The Fall series 3. Pic: BBC

Gillian Anderson

Gillian Anderson

Jamie Dornan as Paul Spector in The Fall series 3. Pic: @TheFallTV

Jamie Dornan as Paul Spector in The Fall series 3. Pic: @TheFallTV

The Fall stars Gillian Anderson (DSI Stella Gibson) and Jamie Dornan, who portrays serial killer Paul Spector

The Fall stars Gillian Anderson (DSI Stella Gibson) and Jamie Dornan, who portrays serial killer Paul Spector

Gillian Anderson

Gillian Anderson

Actress Seainin Brennan with Jamie Dornan in The Fall

Actress Seainin Brennan with Jamie Dornan in The Fall

Role play: Jamie Dornan has admitted he stalked a woman on the underground for his part in The Fall, alongside Gillian Anderson

Role play: Jamie Dornan has admitted he stalked a woman on the underground for his part in The Fall, alongside Gillian Anderson

Murderer Paul Spector played by Jamie Dornan

Murderer Paul Spector played by Jamie Dornan

BBC/The Fall S2/Helen Sloan

Bronagh Waugh with Jamie Dornan in The Fall

Bronagh Waugh with Jamie Dornan in The Fall

Jamie Dornan plays serial killer Paul Spector

Jamie Dornan plays serial killer Paul Spector

BBC/The Fall S2 Ltd/Helen Sloan

Jamie Dornan in The Fall

Jamie Dornan in The Fall

BBC/The Fall 2 Limited/Helen Slo

The Fall

The Fall

BBC/Artists Studio/Steffan Hill

Jamie Dornan reprising his role as serial killer Paul Spector

Jamie Dornan reprising his role as serial killer Paul Spector

Gillian Anderson as Stella Gibson in The Fall series 3. Pic: @TheFallTV

Gillian Anderson as Stella Gibson in The Fall series 3. Pic: @TheFallTV

Gillian Anderson in Belfast-made, BBC2 crime thriller The Fall

Gillian Anderson in Belfast-made, BBC2 crime thriller The Fall

BBC/The Fall S2/Helen Sloan

The Fall - ACC Jim Burns (John Lynch

The Fall - ACC Jim Burns (John Lynch

Double trouble: John Lynch has loved working with Gillian Anderson in The Fall

Double trouble: John Lynch has loved working with Gillian Anderson in The Fall

BBC/The Fall S2/Helen Sloan

Arresting role: Gillian Anderson

Arresting role: Gillian Anderson

BBC/Artists Studio/Steffan Hill

Gillian Anderson in The Fall

Gillian Anderson in The Fall

BBC/The Fall 2 Limited/Helen Slo

Harrowing scene from The Fall

The makers of hit BBC drama The Fall have been accused of being “insensitive” to the families involved in the Buncrana pier tragedy.

DUP MP Gregory Campbell has raised concerns over a scene in the thriller series which will screened on RTE tonight and on BBC Two on Thursday night which has some disturbing similarities to the heartbreaking accident in Buncrana in March.

Viewers last week saw Bronagh Waugh’s distraught character Sally-Ann Spector — wife of the alleged Belfast strangler — park her car on a local beach late at night with her two sleeping children after she apparently stirred a sedative into their warm milk drink.

In this week’s episode, a lone man is seen jumping out of his car and racing down the beach in a bid to rescue Sally and her children as waves lap around her car.

The dramatic scenes are eerily similar to the tragedy in Buncrana, in which Ruth Daniels, 57, her daughter Jodie Lee Daniels, 14, her son-in-law Sean McGrotty, 49, and his sons Mark, 12, and Evan, eight, from Londonderry all drowned when Sean’s car accidentally went off the pier in March.

Brave Davitt Walsh swam through the freezing water of Lough Swilly to rescue baby Rioghnach-Ann McGrotty from the sinking Audi Q7 car after it slid off the pier.

Unlike that incident, the scene in The Fall is no accident, fragile Sally Ann is suicidal, but the frantic rescue bid has echoes of Davitt Walsh’s heroism.

“The producers of The Fall, and any programme for that matter, need to be mindful of  the circumstances around them,” East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell told Sunday Life.

“To make a TV show in Northern Ireland in similar circumstances to what happened in Buncrana just six months ago seems very insensitive.”

The beach rescue attempt scene in this week’s The Fall is shown via a BBC Newsline report being watched by shocked police officers including Gillian Anderson’s Stella Gibson.       

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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.

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

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.

A BBC Newsline presenter introduces the bulletin telling viewers there was a dramatic incident involving the wife of the alleged Belfast strangler, Paul Spector, and she then issues a warning that viewers may find footage of the incident disturbing.

The report cuts to video footage shot by a person at the beach.  A woman shouts, “Oh my God, that’s a car!” before a male in a wetsuit runs into the sea to help.

“Be careful,” she shouts.

The shaky camera footage sees Sally-Ann’s car being engulfed by the incoming tide.

The reporter then says “the windows are raised, the doors are locked, inside are her two children”.

A moment is then described which mirrors the heartbreaking reports of Buncrana tragedy eye-witnesses — the screaming.

In The Fall, the BBC presenter tells of how “the girl aged eight can be heard calling for help” as the water rises around the car.

“A moment later the car is almost washed away,” the presenter says.

Both Assistant Chief Constable Jim Burns, played by John Lynch, and Gillian Anderson’s DCI Stella Gibson are moved to tears watching the shocking scenes unfold.

Burns asks Crawford: “How were we to know she was that desperate?” To which she replies: “It’s what women do with their anger, Jim. What frame of mind would she have been in to think that they would all be better off dead.”

DUP MP Campbell added: “What happened in Buncrana was totally devastating and seeing this again could well shake up a lot of emotions. So many people are still aware of it so with there being a man on the beach, like the man who rescued the baby in Buncrana and his girlfriend, in the show, it seems very early.”

Last Friday, Sunday Life’s Spirt of Northern Ireland winner Davitt, from Kerrykeel, was awarded the Michael Heffernan Gold Medal for Marine Gallantry for saving Rioghnach-Ann’s life.

Louise James, the McGrotty children’s mother, has also been recognised by Pride of Britain for raising £15,000 in memory of her son, Evan, who had Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

 

Belfast Telegraph