The Donegal community is mourning the loss of two young boys whose lives were claimed by Hurricane Sandy, a parish priest has said.

The sons of an Irish emigrant, Conor and Brendan Moore, aged four and two, were swept out of their mothers arms in Staten Island last week, as their mother Glenda tried to bring them to safety.

Their father Damien, originally from Portnoo in Donegal, a sanitation worker with the city, was working on the storms relief efforts at the time.

Speaking to RTE’s Morning Ireland radio program, Fr Phillip Daly said everyone in the locality was devastated by the tragedy.

"I think that what added to the awfulness of the situation was the lack of support.

"There was no support forthcoming from some of the people in that area, when Glenda went to the doors looking for help, where they basically closed the doors in her face so this compounded the awfulness of the situation."

The boys died after rising flood waters caused Glenda Moore’s car to stall. Glenda abandoned her vehicle with her two young boys in her arms during the height of the storm. The mother was turned away by a man who refused to let her into a house. She clung to some railings but her children were snatched away by the sheer force of the wind and rain. Their bodies were found on Thursday.

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Fr Daly said it was some small comfort that the boy’s bodies had been discovered.

"That in itself was a great relief to Damien and Glenda and to the grandparents here in Portnoo that they now can grieve, that they can have a funeral and they can later on visit the grave, so that in itself was a blessing."

The local priest said a memorial mass in Donegal was being planned for the two boys, as grandparents Paddy and Fay would not be able to travel to New York for the funeral.

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