St. Patrick’s Chapel in Dungiven was packed on Sunday night for a poignant ceremony to honour the victims of the Buncrana pier tragedy, writes Sheena Jackson.
Five candles burned throughout the simple ceremony, organised by Dungiven Sports Forum, in honour of the five members of the same family who perished when their car slipped into the waters of Lough Swilly.
Sean McGrotty, who was in his late 40s, his two sons Mark (12) and Evan (8), and the boys’ grandmother Ruth Daniels (59) died alongside Mrs Daniels’ daughter Jodi-Lee (14).
“No-one knew the families but everyone has just been in total shock, completely numbed by the tragedy,” said a spokeperson. “It was heartbreaking, and none of us can imagine what they went through and what their families are going through. We knew there was talk of a vigil in Buncrana, and possibly Derry, so we wanted to do something here to show support from the people of Dungiven; that we are thinking of them.
“This was a short, simple ceremony to show that we are thinking of the five angels in heaven and their families.”
Sunday’s vigil was attended by young and old, and included hymns sung by St. Patrick’s choir and music played by harpists from the Scoil Ruaidhri Dall. A poem was also read out followed by a minute’s silence.
Fundraising efforts continued over the weekend to support Louise James and her baby daughter Riognach. More than £75,000 has been raised through two Justgiving websites, with thousands more donated through local fundraising initiatives and events as far afield as New York. Derry man Marty McGranaghan, who set up one of the two Justgiving pages raising money for Louise and her family, said he had never seen a reaction to an appeal like it.