Donegal prepares for first of 10 funerals for victims of gas station blast


    Locals in the village of Creeslough, in County Donegal, and nearby areas are preparing for a series of emotional funerals following the explosion that killed 10 people at a petrol station on Friday. Police are still investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident. 

    On Monday, pathologists conducted post-mortem examinations on the victims at Letterkenny University hospital and their names have been released. 

    The country remains in mourning after the death toll was confirmed to be 10 people, including a five-year-old child and two teenagers.

    Not expecting to find any more survivors or bodies, emergency services called off the search at the grounds on Saturday evening after sifting through the rubble left behind by the blast.

    The victims were four men, three women, a teenage boy, a teenage girl and a young girl, who was just five years old. 

    Gardaí said in a statement. “It is not expected that there will be any further casualties located and there are no outstanding reports of unaccounted-for persons.”

    The funerals of two of the ten victims, Jessica Gallagher, 24, and Martin McGill, 49, will be held in the Co Donegal village on Tuesday.

    James O’Flaherty, 48, a married father of one from Sydney, Australia, is to be buried in the village of Bunbeg on Wednesday.

    Father John Joe Duffy said people are “full of grief”, adding that the initial numbness, shock and adrenaline “is beginning to wear off”

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    “The enormity of the tragedy is becoming clearer and clearer,” he told the PA news agency.

    The father of 14-year-old Leona Harper, who was the last of the 10 bodies to be uncovered, told a local radio station: “Leona was a little gem, very outgoing, very friendly, a lovely person, very quiet, laid back, loved life, loved the outdoors, walking through fields, going fishing, spending time with friends, going to car shows”.

    He added: “She was very special, very, very special. She’s going to be very sorely missed.”

    Blast experts continue to analyse the damage from the blast, with police saying initial evidence suggested an accident. 

    Speculation has now been raised that the explosion could have been caused by a gas cylinder storage tank. 

    Another victim Jessica Gallagher, 24, a fashion designer, was to start a new job in Belfast on Monday, while the youngest victim was Shauna Flanagan Garwe, five, who died with her father, Robert Garwe, 50.

    Martina Martin, 49, a mother of four who worked in the petrol station shop, also sadly died in the blast. 

    The other victims were: Leona Harper, 14, Hugh Kelly, 59, Catherine O’Donnell, 39, and her 14-year-old son, James Monaghan.


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