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Mother 'distraught' after husband and two children killed in Donegal tragedy

Geraldine Mullan managed to exit the car and sought assistance.

The wreckage of the car near Quigley's Point in Donegal.
The wreckage of the car near Quigley's Point in Donegal.
Image: PA

Updated Aug 21st 2020, 4:30 PM

A HEALTHCARE WORKER is “distraught” after her husband and two children were killed in a road accident during bad weather in Co Donegal, a priest has said.

John Mullan, 49, and children Tomas, 14, and Amelia, six, from Moville, died when their vehicle plunged off the road into Lough Foyle at Quigley’s Point as they returned from an evening out in Derry yesterday.

Geraldine Mullan, aged 45, managed to survive. 

The family were returning from a day out in Derry when they lost control of their vehicle and went down an embankment and into Lough Foyle.

John Mullan died after becoming trapped in the family’s black Mitsubishi ASX SUV car.

The two children managed to get out of the car but perished.

Geraldine Mullan managed to get onto the upturned wreckage of the car and was rescued.

She was rushed to Letterkenny University Hospital where her injuries are not life-threatening although gardai say she has been left severely traumatised.

Fr John Farren said: “Her whole family had been wiped out in one go. She was totally distraught.”

The parish priest of Iskaheen said he prayed with Geraldine Mullan over her family’s bodies, which had been placed in a tent at the roadside.

“She came into the tent and that was the first time she had seen her family,” he said. 

“It was a stressful and emotional moment for her.

“I gave her time to get her wits about her then we said prayers and I anointed the three bodies.

“She made a sign of the cross on all three of them.”

crash-in-donegal Gardaí at the scene in Donegal. Source: Joe Boland/PA Wire/PA Images

John Mullan ran a popular garden centre in Moville and his wife is a nurse manager in the cancer unit in Letterkenny General Hospital, Fr Farren added.

The priest said it was wet and windy when he arrived at the scene of the tragedy shortly before midnight.

It was high tide and the waves were white-tipped.

He said: “It was an awful night, the visibility was poor, it was windy and raining, the road was slippery and had recently been resurfaced.

“The car went down that embankment, which was not very long, and apparently it overturned into the water.”

Garda Superintendent Eugene McGovern of Buncrana Garda station was at the scene of the tragedy last night. He said conditions were poor and the night was wet and windy.

He also revealed how the stretch of road at the Three Trees near Quigley’s Point had recently been resurfaced and investigators will examine if this may have contributed to the tragedy.

He said: “We knew fairly early on that we were dealing with a family situation here and it was very difficult.

“We still don’t know what caused Mr Mullan to veer off the road but we will carry out a full investigation into all the circumstances.

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“I was a wet and windy night and the stretch of road where the crash happened had recently been resurfaced so that will form part of our investigation,” he said.

McGovern said the loss of John Mullan and the two children has come as a great blow to the area.

“It is just difficult to find words for the families involved. Mr and Mrs Mullan’s families have been informed of the situation and that is why we are now releasing their names.

“This is an awful tragedy for the immediate families but also for the wider community as the family are well known and respected in the locality,” he said.

He appealed to anybody who was in the area at the time and who may have noticed anything to contact them.

“We have already received a lot of information but anybody who may have been in the area and witnessed anything to contact us at Buncrana Garda Station on (074) 9320540, the Garda Confidential Line 1800 666 111 or any Garda Station.

Meanwhile, local Donegal Deputies Padraig Mac Lochlainn and Pearse Doherty have expressed the sympathy of the community following the tragedy.

Deputy Mac Lochlainn said: “This is such a heartbreaking tragedy and myself and Deputy Pearse Doherty want to convey our deepest sympathy to the family and friends of the man and two children who have died.

“The people of Inishowen and Donegal have suffered more than most from road tragedies over the years and we have no doubt that our people will do all that we can to support the devastated family at this terrible time and in the time ahead.”

With reporting from Press Association

About the author:

Stephen Maguire

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