The inquest into the deaths of five people who died when their car slid off a pier into the sea in Buncrana, Co Donegal in March last year will be held on 22-23 November.

Those who died were Sean McGrotty, 49, his sons Mark, 12 and Evan, eight, his partner's mother Ruth Daniels, and Ms Daniels' daughter Jodie Lee Tracey. 

At a pre-evidential hearing this afternoon Coroner Dr Denis McCauley said this was a terrible tragedy and the purpose of this hearing was to promote an effectual process and prevent any adjournments of the inquest when it begins.

Outlining the scope of the inquest, Dr McCauley said it will look at the events of the night, it will look at the issue of slipways and piers in Donegal and also give people guidelines as to what to do if their car goes into the water.

In terms of witnesses Dr McCauley said 69 draft depositions have been taken by gardaí investigating the tragedy but this will be distilled to 12 statements. 

Solicitor Michael Staines, representing Donegal County Council at the hearing, said that a consultant has been engaged by the council to do a report and this will be available to the inquest.

The council will be cooperating fully with the inquest, he said.

Dr McCauley said one or more witnesses will be called from the council to give evidence in relation to the different slipways and piers in the county and any risk assessments which have been carried out.

Dr McCauley said there will also be someone present at the inquest from the Irish Water Safety Association and the Road Safety Authority.

He said he hoped that these witnesses will help with further understanding of the tragedy and give advice to people as to what to do if their car goes into the water.

He said he also contacted Audi Ireland in relation to the inquest as the car involved was an Audi Q7 but he got no response.

A number of McGrotty family members were present at the hearing but made no comments.