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Mum 'hysterical' as husband and 2 kids die in lake

  • Amelia (6) and Tomás (14) are killed as car plummets into water


Mullan family’s car and fire crew at the scene of the tragedy at Quigley’s Point, Co Donegal

Mullan family’s car and fire crew at the scene of the tragedy at Quigley’s Point, Co Donegal

Mullan family’s car and fire crew at the scene of the tragedy at Quigley’s Point, Co Donegal

A mother who lost her husband and two children when their car plunged into a lake during bad weather was "hysterical with grief" following the tragedy.

Tributes were paid to John Mullan (49) and his children Tomás (14) and Amelia (6), from Moville, Co Donegal, who died on Thursday night.

Geraldine Mullan (45) was the sole survivor.

The family were returning from a trip to Derry when their car went out of control shortly after 10pm and plummeted down an embankment and into Lough Foyle at Quigley's Point.

Mr Mullan died after becoming trapped in the family's Mitsubishi ASX SUV.

The two children managed to get out, but did not survive.

Ms Mullan escaped from the upturned car and was rescued.


She was taken to Letterkenny University Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, although gardaí said she was severely traumatised.

The vehicle rolled down a slope and remained lying on the shoreline yesterday.

The parish priest of Iskaheen in Muff, Fr John Farren, said he prayed with Ms Mullan at the scene of the crash.

He said she was "hysterical from grief".

"She came into the garda tent and that was the first time she had seen her family," he said.

"It was a stressful and emotional moment for her. I gave her time to get her wits about her then we said prayers and I annointed the three bodies. She made a sign of the cross on all three of them.

"It's a terribly tragic incident, it's just beyond words. She was completely shocked, totally distressed."

Superintendent Eugene McGovern, of Buncrana garda station, was at the scene and said road conditions were poor amid wet and windy weather.

He said the stretch of road at the Three Trees near Quigley's Point had recently been resurfaced, and investigators will examine if this might have contributed to the tragedy.

"We knew fairly early on that we were dealing with a family situation here," he said.

"We still don't know what caused Mr Mullan to veer off the road, but we will carry out a full investigation."

Supt McGovern said the loss of Mr Mullan and the couple's two children had come as a great blow to the area.

He appealed to anyone who was in the area at the time and may have noticed something to come forward.

"We have already received a lot of information but anybody who may have been in the area and witnessed anything can contact us at Buncrana Garda Station," Supt McGovern said.

Mr Mullan worked at the Moville garden centre, while his wife is a nurse at Letterkenny University Hospital.

Both of their children attended schools in Moville.

A friend said the family were quiet and "kept themselves to themselves" but went out of their way to help anyone who needed it.

Local county councillor Martin Farren said he grew up with Mr Mullan and knew the family well.

"It's just impossible to put into words how people are feeling in the community right now, it's just devastating," he said.

Moville Community College, where Tómas was entering third year, paid tribute to him and his family.

Anthony Doogan said everyone is grieving the loss.

"We are deeply saddened by their deaths," he said.

"We also keep in our thoughts the children's mother Geraldine and wish her a speedy recovery.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the wider families and friends of Tomás, John and Amelia at this time."