Tuesday, 22 March 2016
Donegal Tragedy and Brussels Attacks: Expressions of Sympathy
On behalf of the Government, I would like to express my sincere and deepest sympathies and condolences to the McGrotty family on their tragic loss in Buncrana on Sunday evening. Our hearts go out to them on what is a devastating impact on the lives of the extended family. We all know in our own lives the numbing grief that comes from the loss of a loved one. In these circumstances, however, this is of particular and deepest grief that the tranquility and beauty of a sunny spring Sunday was shattered by this tragedy. I would like to express our sympathy to Louise James, who lost her partner, Seán, their two young sons, Mark and Evan, her mother, Ruth, and her sister, Jodie Lee. I will recall forever, as many people will, the words of Francis Crawford in his description of what happened. I admire the courage of Davitt Walsh, who rescued and saved the life of little Rionaghac-Ann. When one tries to consider the horrendous impact of what was happening as that vehicle slid towards the water and the father, handing his baby to the rescue, saying, "Save our baby", it puts things into perspective and into context.
I am sure the House will join me in expressing our deepest sympathy and sadness at what has happened to this Derry family.
Members will be aware of an ongoing situation in Brussels where two bombs have been detonated, one in Brussels airport and one at Maelbeek railway station. The numbers killed are substantial, although as yet unconfirmed. I understand from the Irish ambassador in Brussels that, as far as we are aware, no Irish citizen has been involved in the tragedy. However, we cannot yet be certain as to the full impact of the incident. At the end of my brief contribution, I would like the House to mark a minute's silence in respect of the members of the McGrotty family in Buncrana who lost their lives and those who have lost, or may lose, their lives as a consequence of what appear to be terrorist activities at Brussels airport and the railway station in Brussels.