Tuesday 27 September 2016

Pier hero Davitt says he will be part of baby Rioghnach-Ann's life

Cathal McMahon and Denise Calnan

Published 06/04/2016 | 02:30

Rescue hero Davitt Walsh cradles baby Rioghnach-Ann, whom he saved from the icy waters. Photo:Derry News
Rescue hero Davitt Walsh cradles baby Rioghnach-Ann, whom he saved from the icy waters. Photo:Derry News

Buncrana pier hero Davitt Walsh is looking forward to being a part of "beautiful" baby Rioghnach-Ann's life.

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The 28-year-old saved the four-month-old infant after jumping into Lough Swilly when the car in which her family were travelling slid off the pier into the water.

Sean McGrotty (46), his sons Evan (8) and 12-year-old Mark, Ruth Daniels (57) and her 14-year-old daughter Jodie Lee Daniels all drowned in the tragedy.

Mr Walsh, from Kerrykeel in Co Donegal, said he has had time to reflect on the tragic events in recent weeks.

He believes it was people's "kindness and sincerity" that gave him strength.

He also praised Rioghnach-Ann's mother, Louise, who he described as "exceptional".

"Louise has been an inspiration to me and a great comfort, she is an exceptional woman," he said.

"Rioghnach-Ann is a beautiful baby and I look forward to being a part of her life and to see her growing up. Sean, Mark, Evan, Ruth and Jodie-Lee are now together in heaven. God bless, RIP."

Mr Walsh said he had been overwhelmed by the messages and emails people had sent him.

"It's impossible for me to reply to everyone individually but I have read them all.

"It's your kindness and sincerity that has given me great strength and enabled me to cope over these last days. So I would like to thank you all so much for this," he wrote in a moving Facebook post. Last night, Sean McGrotty's brother, Jim, told the Irish Independent Mr Walsh will be part of their lives forever.

"As a family we will be keeping in touch with Davitt. He is inextricably linked to Rioghnach-Ann and Louise.

"Davitt is a good fella and he couldn't do enough for Louise," Mr McGrotty said.

"Davitt is part of her life. And Louise wants him to be part of Rioghnach-Ann's life. They would be in touch regularly."

Irish Independent

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