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Driver Three Times Over Legal Alcohol Limit In Buncrana Pier Tragedy, Inquest Hears

24th November 2017
The pier at Buncrana where the incident occurred on 20 March 2016 The pier at Buncrana where the incident occurred on 20 March 2016 Photo: Greg Clarke/Flickr

#Buncrana - An inquest into the Buncrana slipway tragedy of March 2016 has found that the driver of the car that slipped into Lough Swilly was more than three times over the drink-driving limit.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, five people died after their car slipped into the water from a pier in Buncrana, Co Donegal on Sunday 20 March.

Sean McGrotty (49) was driving the car with his sons Mark (12) and Evan (8), his baby daughter Rioghnach-Ann, the children’s grandmother Ruth Daniels (59) and her daughter Jodi-Lee (14), according to The Irish Times.

Only Rioghnach-Ann was rescued from the car, thanks to the quick actions of local GAA player Davitt Walsh — who received a silver medal in the 2016 National Bravery Awards for his efforts.

Walsh told the inquest of his difficulties in getting back up the slipway from the water due to its coating of algae, noting that its slipperiness might not be obvious to people unfamiliar with the area.

Local man Francis Crawford also spoke at the inquest, recounting how he called to McGrotty has he saw the car slowly entering into the water at the bottom of the slipway, which was “slippery as ice” with algae.

“I was hoping that the emergency services would arrive and the car would not go down,” he said, adding that he believed it had been in the water for around 12 minutes before it sank.

McGrotty’s partner Louise James, who was away at the time of the incident, said through her solicitor: “I firmly believe the slipway should have been closed to the public or else proper warning signs displayed. It was an accident waiting to happen.”

The Irish Times has much more on the story HERE.

Published in News Update
MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy is a contributor covering all things on the water, from boating and wildlife to science and business

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