Saturday 25 January 2020

Jury to hear inquest into tragic drownings at Buncrana Pier

Sean McGrotty
Sean McGrotty
Andrew Phelan

Andrew Phelan

A date has been set for inquests into the drowning of the five family members in the Buncrana pier tragedy.

A preliminary hearing into the deaths yesterday was told the formal inquests would be held before a jury over two days in November.

Sean McGrotty (49), his sons Evan (8) and Mark (12); the boy's grandmother Ruth Daniels (57) and her daughter Jodie Lee Daniels (14) all lost their lives when their jeep rolled into Lough Swilly.

Local man Davitt Walsh was hailed a hero after he swam out to the sinking jeep and rescued a baby girl in the March 2016 tragedy.

Sean McGrotty handed out his baby daughter Rioghnach-Ann to Davitt who took her to safety.

Members of the McGrotty family, who are from Derry, were present at the sitting of Donegal County Coroner's Court in the Inishowen Gateway Hotel in Buncrana, where the hearing took place.

Donegal Coroner Dr Denis McCauley said it was a "terrible tragedy" and that the inquest would seek to give guidance to people as to what to do when a car goes into the water.

He set November 22 and 23 as the inquest dates and adjourned proceedings, for mention on September 27.

Dr McCauley said the inquest would firstly examine the events of the night. The scope would include include an examination of piers and slipways in Donegal generally. He said although it was unusual in Donegal, the inquests should be held before a jury.

Irish Independent

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