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'Go home and hug your loved ones' - mother tells mourners of her family's final moments

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Geraldine Mullan, the only survivor of the crash, hugs the coffins of her husband John – who was due to celebrate his 50th birthday – and Tomás (14) and Amelia (6) as she say a final farewell

Geraldine Mullan, the only survivor of the crash, hugs the coffins of her husband John – who was due to celebrate his 50th birthday – and Tomás (14) and Amelia (6) as she say a final farewell

Colm Lenghan/Pacemaker Press

Geraldine Mullan, the only survivor of the crash, hugs the coffins of her husband John – who was due to celebrate his 50th birthday – and Tomás (14) and Amelia (6) as she say a final farewell

The woman who lost her husband and two children in a horror car crash has pleaded with mourners to hug their loved ones and tell them how much they love them.

Mourners outside St Pius X Church in the seaside town of Moville, Do Donegal, wiped tears from their faces as Geraldine Mullan said a final farewell to her family.

All three died when the family's car plunged into Lough Foyle at Quigley's Point last Thursday evening on the way home from a family day out.

Geraldine managed to escape from the car but husband John (49) and children Tomás (14) and six-year-old Amelia died.

Ms Mullan thanked all those who had comforted her in recent days and paid tribute to the three most important people in her life - her late family.

"Go home and hug and kiss your loved ones and tell them how much they mean to you. John did that every morning for me and he will do it again when we are together again," she told mourners.

Reckless

Ms Mullan recalled the moments when her life changed forever but stressed there was no way John could be blamed for the tragedy.

"Everything was against us. There was a high tide, water on the road, roadworks and slippery road conditions," she said.

"John was the safest of drivers. There was no speed or no reckless driving.

"I have no answers, but I can picture that night, second by second. In seconds, our lives changed completely. At 9.30pm on Thursday, August 20, my life was irrevocably changed for the worst.

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The Mullan family

The Mullan family

The Mullan family

"We landed upside down in the water and my dear husband could not get out and was pinned in due to his injuries."

She also revealed how her son had been the perfect big brother to sister Amelia - even in their final moments.

"Everyone knew Tomás was the perfect big brother and, when the divers found him, he had his arms wrapped around his little sister.

"Thanks for minding Amelia, right up to the end," she said, looking down on his coffin.

She paid a special tribute to her loving husband whom she described as her best friend.

She said he would've been 50 in two weeks' time. It was always his dream to go to Cape Canaveral in America, as he loved space travel, but due to Covid-19 they couldn't go.

"Instead, we had 50 little presents hidden all around the house for him. Now, I have no one to give those presents to, but I will go out to Ballybrack (cemetery) and sing him a happy birthday."

She paid tribute to the emergencies services, including Kevin Barr of the RNLI lifeboat.

"He had a hard job of getting me out of the water and I screamed at him 'would you let me go so I can be with them'. I was left behind for a reason, but I don't know what that reason was."

She said she will continue helping out with the local Moville GAA club every Saturday morning, even though she has no kids.

Earlier the funeral cortege carrying the three coffins made the short journey from the Mullan family home less than a mile away in glistening sunshine.

Ms Mullan (45), supported by two friends, led the funeral cortege as it made its way to the church.

Parish priest Fr Pat O'Hagan told Geraldine in his homily that if love could take away her pain then she would be pain-free.

Before the Mass started, Geraldine's father Martin Connuaghton thanked the emergency services on the night and also to the people of Moville for comforting Geraldine.

He paid a special tribute to local man Conor McDaid who was first on the scene and was described as a "guardian angel" who helped to rescue Geraldine from the waters of Lough Foyle.

Gentleman

Tributes were then paid to Amelia, Tomás and John by members of both families.

Amelia was described as a "wee rascal" who lit up rooms with her bubbly personality.

Tomás was described as a quiet, young gentleman who loved music and who always looked after his little sister.

Dad John was described as a gentleman who would do anything for anyone.

After the funeral Mass the coffins carrying John, Tomás and Amelia were brought to the nearby Ballybrack Cemetery in Greencastle for burial.