Buncrana Pier tragedy Inquest opens

Buncrana Pier tragedy victims: (clockwise from top left) Jodie Lee Tracey (14), Mark (12) and Evan (8) McGrotty, Sean McGrotty and Ruth Daniels.
Buncrana Pier tragedy victims: (clockwise from top left) Jodie Lee Tracey (14), Mark (12) and Evan (8) McGrotty, Sean McGrotty and Ruth Daniels.

The Inquest into the deaths of five members of a Derry family in a drowning tragedy has opened in Buncrana.

Donegal Coroner, Dr. Denis McCauley, opened the inquest into the Buncrana Pier tragedy at the Lake of Shadows Hotel in the town on Wednesday morning.

Two days of evidence are scheduled in relation to the deaths of Sean McGrotty, his two sons Mark (12) and Evan (8), his partner’s mother Ruth Daniels and her daughter, Jodie-Lee Tracey (14).
The five died when the vehicle they were in, an Audi Q7, slid off the slipway at Buncrana Pier and entered the waters of Lough Swilly Lough Swilly on the evening of Sunday, March 20, 2016.

Rioghnach-Ann McGrotty, the then four-months-old daughter of Sean McGrotty and his partner Louise James, was the sole survivor of the tragedy.

The inquest is set to hear from key witnesses and will examine the events that unfolded the night of the tragedy.

It is also expected that information available on piers and slipways in Donegal will be looked at.

Relatives of those who lost their lives were among those present at the Inquest, along

A jury of five men and four women were sworn in this morning.

In his opening remarks, Dr McCauley said: “We have an important, solemn duty here today. The Inquests are into a terrible tragedy that happened in March last year. It is important that we do it properly.”

He said that there would be “sad facts reported here today” and urged the media to represent the hearing in an honest and non-sensational way.

He said the Inquest would look at who those who died were, where they died and when they died, as well as how they died.

At a previous pre-evidential hearing earlier this year, Dr McCauley said there were a total of 69 draft depositions from people who were witnesses on the night. However, these depositions have been reduced to 12 to allow the jury to digest them.

At Inquest.