Wednesday 13 December 2017

'A funny young lady who loved life' - small town of Buncrana in shock at India murder of Danielle (28)

Backpacker Danielle McLaughlin who was murdered in Goa
Backpacker Danielle McLaughlin who was murdered in Goa
Tragic murder victim Danielle McLaughlin. Photo: PA
Danielle McLaughlin
Danielle McLaughlin who was discovered dead in Canacona, a popular tourist area in the south of Goa (Image provided to PA by family)
Family handout photo of Danielle McLaughlin who was discovered dead in Canacona, a popular tourist area in the south of Goa (Image: PA)
Danielle McLaughlin was a lover of travelling and has been described as an "outgoing, kind-hearted" person by friends

Alan O'Keeffe

The hometown of murder victim Danielle McLaughlin was shrouded in grief and shock as news of her murder in India spread.

Residents of the scenic Co Donegal seaside town of Buncrana sought to console the relatives and friends of the bubbly young woman who had set off on "an adventure" just three weeks ago.

Danielle's former teachers joined with friends and neighbours in speaking of her kindness and generosity.

A fund to bring home her remains raised almost €10,000 within just two hours of being set up.

The Go Fund Me page was swamped with donations as word spread of the finding of her body on a beach with head and facial injuries.

"There's not really much anyone can say at the moment as I know we are all completely devastated," said friend Christy Duffy, who set up the fund to bring her body home to Buncrana.

"There is nothing I need to say about Danielle as anyone who knew her, knew that she was a beautiful and kind-hearted, funny young lady who loved life and was a loyal and devoted friend, sister and daughter.

"They say the brightest stars burn the quickest and no other analogy could describe Danielle's life better, on behalf of her family thanks in advance for the donations and keep on smiling as Danielle would have wanted."

Read more: 'The brightest stars burn the quickest' - Friends of Irish woman killed in India pay tribute

School principal Rosaleen Grant, head of Scoil Mhuire where Danielle attended secondary school, said: "Danielle did her Leaving Cert in 2006. She was a very bubbly, chatty person, a lively girl but very caring.

Tragic murder victim Danielle McLaughlin. Photo: PA
Tragic murder victim Danielle McLaughlin. Photo: PA

"This is a terrible blow. She was in the prime of her life. We always encouraged our students to travel before settling down.

"Danielle was involved in our school musicals and also liked athletics and soccer.

"I remember her in the chorus of 'Grease' here in the school. She was able to sing and was an all-rounder and happy go lucky. She had a great heart and a very warm personality. She was young and vibrant and loved life.

"It's any parent's nightmare."

School principal Rosaleen Grant of Scoil Mhuire, Buncrana, Co Donegal. Photo: Caroline Quinn
School principal Rosaleen Grant of Scoil Mhuire, Buncrana, Co Donegal. Photo: Caroline Quinn

Science teacher Lorna Barron, who taught Danielle for five years, produced the school musical in which Danielle appeared.

"Danielle could sing, dance and act. A very bright, intelligent girl who had a big heart," said Ms Barron.

"She was always in good humour and whole heartedly took part in school activities," she added.

Yesterday, a constant stream of people visited Danielle's mother Andrea Brannigan at her family home in Marian Park in Buncrana.

Andrea, in a written statement yesterday, said her family "would like to express our thanks to all who have got in touch since receiving this awful news. We are finding it very difficult at this trying time."

A Hindu temple in Goa, India, where Danielle McLaughlin was on a backpacking adventure.
A Hindu temple in Goa, India, where Danielle McLaughlin was on a backpacking adventure.

She thanked the Irish and British consulates and the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust for their help.

"Danielle will be sadly missed by all of us," she said.

Read more: Heartbroken mum leads tribute to Irish woman killed in Indian tourist spot

Danielle, whose travels included living in Australia, returned to Ireland to help care for her grandfather Joe McLaughlin, who died last November.

A neighbour Valerie Doherty (71) said she was both sad and angry at the murder of "a lovely, bright, full of life girl".

"Danielle was very highly regarded. She had her whole life to live, and some bastard cut it short.

"I feel very angry and hurt about that," said Ms Doherty.

"Her grandfather was so precious to her. I remember speaking with her at his funeral," she said.

A local 33-year-old shopkeeper said: "Towns all over Ireland have had to deal with young people being killed in accidents abroad, but the way Danielle died makes it all the sadder and harder to accept."

Fr John Walsh, parish priest, said: "The absolute horror of this girl's murder has stunned the community. We feel for her mother in particular and her siblings."

Fianna Fáil councillor Rena Danagher sought to convey to the family the sympathy of the entire town which was shocked and saddened, she said.

Senator Pádraig Mac Lochlainn of Sinn Féin added: "The people of Buncrana and Inishowen are united in grief with the McLaughlin family at the loss of their daughter and sister. This is a tragic loss and Danielle is in all of our thoughts and prayers."

He said that the sense of grief in the town of Buncrana was palpable.

"People are just distraught that this had happened. They are numb. But the one thing about Buncrana and its people is that they will come together and unite behind the McLaughlin family," he said.

Irish Independent

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