Dad dies on anniversary of son's death
THE father of one of the young men killed in Ireland's worst road accident has died three years to the day after the horrific crash in Co Donegal.
John McLaughlin, 46, from Ballinahone, Fahan, was the father of 21-year-old Mark McLaughlin, who died along with seven other men in the two-car collision at Glasmullen, Clonmany, on July 11, 2010.
His sudden death has "deeply affected" the entire community on the Inishowen Peninsula, say locals.
Relatives and friends are comforting Mr McLaughlin's widow Roma and their son Damian, 20, at what they describe as a "very sensitive and emotional time".
"John's sudden death has come as a complete shock to everyone and especially the families affected by the crash in July three years ago. The accident affected so many people in five small communities throughout the peninsula," said one local.
"The crash has got a lot of media coverage since it happened but this is a highly sensitive and emotional time and it would be helpful if the family were allowed some privacy."
Mr McLaughlin, who was a lorry driver by trade but who was recently out of work, was described as "the nicest fella".
"He was a very hard worker who was always smiling and outgoing and full of life. But the circumstances of Mark's death three years ago really took its toll."
The friends who died along with Mark in the accident were his second cousin Damien McLaughlin, 21, of Umricam, Buncrana; Paul Doherty, 19, of Ardagh, Ballyliffin; Ciaran Sweeney, 19, of Ballyliffin; PJ McLaughlin, 21, of Rockstown, Burnfoot; James McEleney, 23, of Minaduff, Clonmany, and Eamon McDaid, 22, of Ballymagan, Buncrana.
Pensioner Hughie Friel, 66, who was driving home alone to Urris, Clonmany, from the parish bingo in Buncrana was also killed. The sole survivor of the crash, Shaun Kelly, 24, of Ballymagan, Buncrana, is awaiting trial charged with dangerous driving causing the deaths.
A large attendance is expected today at Mr McLaughlin's funeral at 11am in St Mura's Church in Fahan.