‘More in-depth review’ of Buncrana pier

Flowers left at the scene at Buncrana Pierin the days following of the tragedy. (Niall Carson/PA Wire)
Flowers left at the scene at Buncrana Pierin the days following of the tragedy. (Niall Carson/PA Wire)

Donegal County Council is to carry out a “wider and more in-depth review” of Buncrana pier and over 100 other piers and slipways in the county following the tragedy in which five Derry people lost their lives.

The council announced in April that it was carrying out a review of piers and slipways across the county after five members of the same family died at Buncrana pier in March. That review is now being extended and tender documents are being prepared.

Sean McGrotty, his sons, Mark (12) and Evan (8,) their grandmother Ruth Daniels and her daughter Jodie-Lee, (14), all passed away after their car got into difficulty at the local pier and entered Lough Swilly. Mr McGrotty’s daughter, Rioghnach-Ann, was saved after she was rescued from the car by by-stander Davitt Walsh.

When they announced the initial review in April, the council said it wished that such a tragedy would never happen again. It added that piers and slipways were generally public places and open to the public.

“The interface between the dry land and the sea with all the variations that nature brings including water depths, tides, swells and currents, wave forces, seaweed and debris can make them a high risk location,” a spokesperson commented.

On that occasion, the Council confirmed that as the details of the incident became known and were fully considered, it would “review them and determine if any specific measures need to be taken.

In its most recent statement this week, the Council confirmed it had carried out an “initial preliminary review” with its own staff. A spokesperson added that the Council was currently preparing tender documents “for a wider and more in-depth review of Buncrana and over 100 other piers and slipways around the county.”

The tragedy at Buncrana in March not only shocked and saddened Ireland but made headlines across the world. Thousands of people attended the funeral of the five family members at Holy Family Church, Ballymagroarty, at which Louise James, who lost her partner, sons, mother and sister, thanked the local community, the emergency services and those who were at the scene on the night.