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Devastation of mum who lost a second son in crash near family home

THE mother of a victim of the Donegal car crash horror has spoken of her grief at losing a second young son in tragic circumstances.

Philomena McEleney (50) said her son James (23) who was killed with seven others in the Clonmany road accident had "a heart of gold".

She said her son Daniel ended his own life in 2004 and now she must prepare to say a final farewell to another young loved one.

"I know Daniel and James will come down from heaven to collect me one day," said the heartbroken mother.

The mother-of-six from Minaduff, Clonmany, speaking to reporters, said: "No mother should have to bury their children.

"It's just not right."

She said James had a heart of gold who was loved by many. "When he sang, he lit up the room. I can't believe he's gone."



HYSTERICAL

She said two young women knocked on her front door at midnight on Sunday to tell her there had been a crash only a few yards from her home and that James was one of those in the car.

"I thought it was James coming home. I was in bed when the knock came to the door," she said. "I prayed he would be all right but the gardai wouldn't let me up to the crash site to see him.

"I understand that, because I would have been hysterical.

"I had to sit in the house waiting for news and then at around 3.30am, I got word James had died.

"I really thought James would make it and I don't think I am taking it in that I have now lost a second son."

Philomena said she felt she could not go to the hospital, but she just had to go.

"I feel I almost can't do this, like if I see his face, see his injuries, that it will suddenly hit home, my boy is dead.

"But I have to go to get him. I have to take him home on his last journey," she said.

Her family and friends laid out a fresh pathway up to their home so that James could be carried into the house today. "He was my boy, my son, my right-hand man and he deserves me to be strong for him," she added.

"He was a great boy, would do anything for anyone and he loved being with his friends."

She indicated that James also thought the world of his girlfriend Lisa Hand (19) who joined his family in their shared grief.

James had worked as a gutterer, but had been unemployed lately. He had talked about moving away, but his mother said he loved the area and the people so much that she did not think he would ever move away.



MESSAGE

She took comfort that he was with friends and having fun in his final moments.

"There is nothing anyone can do to bring James back. I am not the only mother to have lost their child up here in Inishowen. There have been so many road tragedies, so many children lost," she said.

"He knew I loved him, he told me I had been a good mother and he was the best, the very best son.

"I was lucky enough to have him for so many years and this kind of tragedy sends a message to all mothers to love their children, look after them."

James will be buried beside Daniel in Clonmany Cemetery.

aokeeffe@herald.ie


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