LOUISE James, the Derry mum who lost five members of her family in the Buncrana pier tragedy, has spoken of how she has been touched by the kindness of strangers.
She has revealed how she still receives messages of support on a daily basis, and has been particularly touched by the young children who have sent their pocket money for baby Rioghnach.
In an interview with the Irish News today, Louise says: “I’m still receiving messages on a daily basis.
“It’s nice because I have read every single one and it makes you feel sometimes like you’re not the only one grieving.
“Even though I’ve had the biggest loss, you sort of feel that you are not on your own.”
Louise lost her partner Sean McGrotty, 46, sons, Mark, 12 and Evan, eight, sister Jodie-Lee Tracey, 14, and her mother, Ruth Daniels, 57, in the tragedy at Lough Swilly in March this year.
The family 4 X 4 Audi Q7 vehicle slipped on the pier and into the waters off Buncrana.
Baby Rioghnach-Ann was saved from the tragedy when Mr McGrotty was able to pass her to hero rescuer Davitt Walsh who bravely swam with her to shore, after he jumped into the waters to help save the family.
Ms James said she’s had messages of support from across the world, including USA and Austrailia, with some young children even offering money to help baby Rioghnach-Ann.
She said: “Children have been sending cheques asking, ‘Will you buy Rioghnach a gift with our pay?’
“That really touched my heart, that really did.
“There was one from a wee boy of seven from Galway. I don’t want to single any out but was around the same age as Evan and I know that’s what Evan would do.”
Conveying her thanks to everyone who stopped to helped at the scene of the tragedy, and those who supported her, she said: “I want to say a big thanks to everyone, starting with the people who were there that night, all the emergency services, the RNLI, all the staff at Letterkenny Hospital, Davitt and [his girlfriend] Stephanie [Knox].
“I want to thank Connie and Theresa [McIntyre] because Connie and Theresa helped Davitt and Stephanie. They were there that night but have not really come to into the picture. I want to thank Kay and Francis Crawford.
“I want to thank Fr Paddy O’Kane. He has been a tower of strength to me. He really has. He’s been at the door, he’s been atthe house, he has been at the other end of the phone.”
Louise also expressed her thanks to funeral undertakers Willie O’Brien and his staff and the police for their help with the funeral.
Speaking of her pride for her native city Derry, Ms James added: “I am so, so proud to be from Derry, all the businesses and all the clubs who put on events to help us, it means so much.
“For such a small town, it came together, city side and waterside. I got books of condolence from everywhere and a particularly lovely one from Nelson Drive, that was lovely.
“It proved that out town can come together, whether you’re Catholic or Protestant, nothing matters in a time of need.”
Adding her final word of thanks, Louise said: “Obviously my greatest thanks must go to Sean’s family and my family and our close friends who have been with me every step of the way.”Tags: