By Ryan McBride
The Buncrana Pier had been red flagged before the tragedy that took five lives this week.
When asked if issues had been raised about the state of the pier, Donegal County Councillor Jack Murray said there were.
“There was an incident in the last year, a foreign national whose car slipped in – he managed to get out of the car. At this point we’d be focusing more on the tragedy”.
“We’ll have to look at the future at some point but at the moment, there wouldn’t be any blame. I would say it’s more of a freak accident more than anything else.”
Seán McGrotty and his children, Mark (12), Evan (8) and four month old daughter Rionaghac-Ann were in the vehicle, along with grandmother Ruth Daniels and her daughter Jodie Lee-Daniels (14).
This tragedy comes five years after two men escaped with their lives after a similar incident of a car slipping on algae on Buncrana Pier. They survived because their car windows were down and they could escape once the vehicle was submerged.
Questions have been raised about why the barrier in the pier was open if the surface was dangerous.
“It must have been open,” Cllr Murray said. “To be honest, I haven’t got the answer to that question, why it was open, but obviously we’ll have to look at that. At this point we don’t know.”
A man claimed over €30k from Fingal County Council after a similar incident on rush pier. Joseph McGrath, from Johnstown, Navan, Co Meath slipped and fell on algae, broke his arm and twisted his ankle and was out of work for three months.
When asked if Donegal County Council could be liable for similar legal action, Cllr Murray said: “It’s too early to tell any of this.”
“At the minute the focus is on the family, the supports that they need. But in due course, with the likes of the post mortems, there’ll be a Garda investigation. We’ll be waiting for the outcome of the Garda investigation before we can say any more on this.”
Cllr Murray said that the community is rallying together in the wake of the tragedy.
“The entire town’s been affected by, but one thing is, the people have come together now to support each other. Not just the family, but everyone in the community.”
A funeral service for the members of the McGrotty and Daniels families will take place in Derry at 2pm on Thursday.