Derry’s Guildhall Clock will tonight turn red and white - the colours of Derry City and Manchester United - in memory of the family who died in the tragedy at Buncrana pier on Sunday.
Twelve-year-old Mark and 8-year-old Evan, were both huge football fans and had very strong family links to Derry City FC.
The two young boys were tragically killed along with their father Sean McGrotty, his mother-in-law Ruth and her daughter Jodie-Lee when their car went into the water at the pier in Buncrana on Sunday evening.
Derry City and Strabane District Council has also agreed to turn the lights at Council Offices, Strand Road and the Alley Theatre in Strabane, the colour red on Wednesday and Thursday night.
The Mayor, who has been in contact with the families, said turning the Guildhall Clock red and white and the Council premises red, was a symbolic gesture of support and reflective of the huge outpouring of grief from the local community.
“The two boys were massive Derry City FC and Manchester United fans. Their uncle Joshua Daniels plays for the local club and the boys and Jodie-Lee were passionate about the sport. I spoke to Louise today at the wake and she spoke about Evan and how he was obsessed with the colour red, it was his favourite colour. He loved red clothes and all the things in his room are red. We feel it’s a fitting tribute to their memory to have the lights on the Council offices and the Alley Theatre turned red as a mark of respect,” she added.
Earlier today, Council made the decision not to proceed with its Council meeting as a mark of respect to the families and to allow elected members the opportunity to attend the funerals and earlier in the week the Mayor organised for Books of Condolence to be set up at St. Joseph’s Church in Galliagh and the Holy Family Church, Ballymagroarty to allow the public to express their condolences.
“The Council is very much aware of the impact the tragedy has had on the local community and is taking every opportunity to show support for the families and the wider community who are affected by it,” the Mayor said.
Expressing her condolence at the tragic deaths, Mayor McCallion said the entire community has been left devastated by the tragedy and thoughts and prayers go out to the entire family circle at this difficult time.
“This tragedy that has affected the entire community in Derry and Donegal and left all of us feeling distraught. My heart goes out to everyone affected by this tragedy, especially to Louise. I can’t imagine what she is going through right now, it is just unthinkable and every mother’s nightmare.
“The communities in Derry, Donegal and wider North West region are united in grief today and by working together we will help each other through this harrowing time and will continue to offer support to the families in the weeks and months that follow the funerals,” she added.
Meanwile the First and Deputy First Minister Arlene Foster and Martin mcGuinness will sign a book of condolence when the Executive meets in Magee tomorrow.
In a joint statement the Ministers said: “It is fitting that we will be gathering together in the city as all hearts are saddened following the terrible events at the weekend at Buncrana.
“The sorrow felt about these tragic losses is reflected right across Northern Ireland and the world. Our continued thoughts and prayers are with Mrs McGrotty and her entire family circle.”