'great help' | 

More than £5k raised for funeral costs of woman who died after being hit by Garda car

Rebecca Browne (21) was tragically killed in Buncrana during the early hours of Sunday morning

Rebecca Browne

Neil Fetherstonhaugh

A fundraising page set up to cover the costs of the funeral of young Derry hairdresser Rebecca Browne, who died after being hit by a Garda car in Donegal, has raised more than £5,000.

Rebecca, who was 21 and from the Galliagh area, was returning from a night out when the tragedy happened.

She had been away with friends and staying in Ludden, Buncrana, close to where the accident happened early on Sunday morning.

A GoFundMe page set up to cover the funeral costs reads that “we are hoping to raise funds for the family of Rebecca Browne, who was tragically killed in Buncrana during the early hours of Sunday morning 21st of May.

"Any contributions towards funeral costs and other expenses would greatly help Lynn, Jerry and Ethan at this extremely devastating time."

A total of £5,620 has been raised of a £3,000 target with poignant messages left on the page including “Beautiful Angel”, “So sad RIP beautiful girl” and Beyond devastating. Rest easy beautiful girl”.

Fr Michael McCaughey from the Three Patrons' Parish in Galliagh who visited the family home said they were heartbroken.

"Her mum talked about how she has lost two very special people. Her own mother died during the pandemic and now she has lost her own daughter," he told the BBC.

He added: "It is just very sad to see the pain and the heartbreak and the silence.”

Ms Browne worked at Sage Hair and Beauty based on the Spencer Road in Derry.

On Monday SDLP councillor Brian Tierney said the community in Galliagh is devastated by the tragedy.

“I have known Rebecca and the Browne family for many years and they are absolutely devastated by her loss which has touched the entire community here in Galliagh. I know everyone will rally around the family in the difficult weeks and months ahead and support them in any way they can.

“Rebecca was a lovely young woman, she was bubby, outgoing and popular and the heart and soul of her family. I visited them today to let them know that we are all thinking of them after their tragic loss."

Ms Browne was returning from a function at a local hotel in Buncrana when she was struck by a Garda car at approximately 3.15am on Sunday.

The exact circumstances of the collision are not yet known.

Gardai set up a forensic tent as forensic examiners arrived on the scene at first light.

The marked Garda car involved in the incident also remained at the scene and was being technically examined. Pictures of the vehicle shows damage to the bonnet of the car.

Ms Browne's body was removed from the scene and taken to hospital later for a post-mortem examination but the road remains closed as the forensic examination of the scene continues.

The incident was referred to the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) as the collision involved a Garda car.

Derry Sinn Fein councillor Sandra Duffy said: “This is a tragedy and the shock and heartbreak of this terrible incident will be felt right across the community today.”

Local councillor Rena Donaghey told RTE: "It's just horrific news. It's so sad. We are a neighbouring parish of Derry, just 10 miles up the road. We are very closely associated with Derry and they visit here all the time. Our hearts, sympathy and prayers go out to the family of the poor girl.”

Buncrana is popular with visitors from nearby Derry just across the border and many have second homes there.

The scene where the tragedy occurred is close to the entrance for Ludden Beach, between the local Applegreen Service Station and the entrance roundabout into Buncrana.

Claire West, a nurse working in Derry, said she was heartbroken, telling RTE: "We come here to relax ... I just can't put into words how I'm feeling as a mother, as a parent. The poor girl was just here from Derry for the weekend. She's the same age as my son. I'm just heartbroken.”

Local county councillor Jack Murray said: "It was terrible to wake up to the news that somebody had lost their life but when you heard it was a young woman and in such tragic circumstances then that makes it even more tragic.

"The thoughts and prayers of the entire community are with this young woman and her family.

"You also have to think of whoever was driving the car and what they are going through. The entire incident is just so tragic."

Friends of the tragic young woman have been leaving messages of sympathy on their social media pages.

One wrote: "Always giving us a laugh I don’t know how I’ll do it without you Becca...please give us all the strength in these coming days and forever. My hardest goodbye".

Another posted: "My gorgeous best friend ... I don’t honestly know what I’m going to do without you or how I’m going to get through this my heart is completely broken".

A third said: "My heart's sore, love you so much. Our angel."

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