The ‘gaping wound’ of Inishowen’s horror crash - Gardai await DPP


Gardai in Inishowen are awaiting the decision of the Director of Prosecutions as to their next move following on from the horror crash in Inishowen in which eight people where killed.

The first annisvery of that traumatic occurs this weekend.

Superintendant Kevin English, from Buncrana Gardai Station, told the ‘Journal’ yesterday gardai investigations were complete and a file has now been sent to the DPP.

The two-car collision which is the worst single road accident on record in the history of the state, happened on the main Clonmany to Buncrana road, at 10.40pm on Sunday, July 11, 2010.

The eight friends, who were travelling in the same vehicle, were Mark McLaughlin (21), Fahan, James McEleney (23), of Clonmany, Paul Doherty (19), Ballyliffin, Ciaran Sweeney (19), of Ballyliffin, PJ McLaughlin (21), of Rockstown, Burnfoot, Eamon McDaid (22), of Ballymagan, Buncrana and Damien McLaughlin (21), of Umricam, Buncrana. All were killed instantly.

Hugh Friel, 66, from Dunaff, Urris was driving home from bingo in Buncrana when he was tragically killed. The driver of the Passat, 23 year old Shaun Kelly from Buncrana was the sole survivor of the accident.

Supt English said he did not wish to comment further but confirmed he had been in touch with the victims’ families.

Buncrana PP, Fr John Walsh, said the community is very conscious of the pain felt still felt by the families, particularly the parents,

“When a parent loses a child they will never get rid of that sense of lose and although they may learn to cope they never truly get over it.”

Urris born Fr Michael Canny, Derry diocesan spokesman, who knew one of the victims, Hugh Friel, personally believes the crash will always leave a “gaping wound”

“I pass by the place where the tragic accident took place almost every week when I am going to visit my mother and family in Urris. Every time my thoughts are the same. I can recall clearly the disbelief when first hearing of the news and the feeling of helplessness when visiting the wakes and seeing the reality of eight people,

“Hugh Friel who was known personally to me and seven young men lifeless in their coffins, with all their hopes and dreams for the future wiped out.

Fr Canny said it should not be forgotten that the families are living with the pain each and every day.

“They do not need an anniversary to be reminded of the sadness, pain and loss. For a small community on the Swilly side of Inishowen to lose eight people there will always be a gaping wound that can never be filled. Youth has been lost and can never be restored. At this time the families are very much in our thoughts and prayers”