herald

Monday 18 December 2017

Campaigns raise almost €90,000 for baby saved from pier tragedy

Louise James at the funeral (PA)
Louise James at the funeral (PA)

People from around the world have donated nearly €90,000 in five days in memory of the five people who died in the Buncrana drownings tragedy.

Two online campaigns and a fundraiser in New York will help the McGrotty/Daniels family.

A relative in Derry, who set up a JustGiving online account hoping to raise £5,000, said he has been overwhelmed by donations topping £45,000 (€57,000) by last night.

A mother-of-three from Buncrana, where the accident happened, has separately raised €19,490 and a fundraiser in New York on Thursday night added €9,000 to the total.

Derry charity worker Marty McGranaghan, a relative of those who died, said Louise James, who lost five family members in the tragedy, has been overwhelmed by the support.

Ms James lost her partner Sean McGrotty (46), their sons Mark (12) and Evan (8), as well as her mother Ruth Daniels (59) and her 14-year-old sister Jodie-Lee.

All five died when Mr McGrotty's Audi SUV slid off the pier into Lough Swilly.

Baby daughter Rioghnach- Ann was rescued from the sinking car by Davitt Byrne, who swam out to help.

"I didn't expect this sort of response," said Mr McGranaghan.

Grateful

"I lost my mother in 2012 and afterwards realised the huge costs of funerals, so I set up a JustGiving.com page asking for £5,000.

"People have donated almost 10 times that from across Ireland and around the world."

He said Ms James was "extremely grateful".

She was a fundraiser for muscular dystrophy charities as Evan had the condition. Ms James had raised €20,000 after taking part in a parachute jump.

"Thanks to the generous people of Ireland and around the world Louise has a few less worries ahead of her," Mr McGranaghan said.

"I know she will want to make donations to muscular dystrophy and maybe set up a trust fund for the baby, but it's too early to say."

Four-month-old Rioghnach- Ann was rescued from the waters of Lough Swilly by 28-year-old former Shelbourne and Bohemians footballer Mr Walsh, who had been in Buncrana for the evening with his girlfriend when the car slid into the water off the slipway.

Donations can be made to crowdfunding.justgiving.com/Buncranatragedy

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