Tuesday 27 September 2016

'It was obvious a horrible tragedy was unfolding' - former local TD

Published 21/03/2016 | 08:47

Pádraig Mac Lochlainn TD
Pádraig Mac Lochlainn TD

A former TD has described how the tragic events at Buncrana unfolded last night as “devastating”.

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Former Sinn Fein TD Pádraig Mac Lochlainn said he got down to scene last night about 45 minutes after the accident happened.

“I was hoping it was training exercise with all of the emergency services on the scene but it soon became clear that something very tragic was happening.”

Speaking on Morning Ireland, Mr Mac Lochlainn said it was apparent as soon you got close to the seafront that “a major operation was underway. It was a full scale rescue operation. As people gathered was it became clear, it was obvious it was a recovery operation."

He said that Buncrana and South Inishowen have “experienced their fair share of tragedy over the years”.

"The area has seen a horrible number of road traffic accidents over the years.

“Poignantly some of the parents who lost their loved ones in previous tragedies in the area were there last night. I suppose they have been through this already and they wanted to be there in a sense of solidarity."

He said the area was “numb with grief this morning.

“Last night at the pier, you are hearing reports of how many people have died and you are hoping against hope that it’s wrong. There was no official confirmation at the early stages.

“As the hours moved on, it became clear how serious a tragedy it was.

“It is particularly tragic when children are involved. It was a lovely day yesterday and a family probably just went on a day out to enjoy the day and it ended so tragically.”

He said his understanding was that the incident was a “tragic accident".

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