'Heartbreaking' Tributes paid to 10 killed in Ireland explosion as names of victims emerge


    The victims include four men, three women, two teenagers and a girl of primary school age, police said. Eight people were also taken to hospital. The blast happened at the Applegreen service station and convenience store in Creeslough, Co Donegal.

    One of the victims was named last night as Jessica Gallagher, 23. She had studied design in Paris and had moved in with her boyfriend above the petrol station.

    A friend said: “Jessica was a lovely girl. She grew up in Creeslough and went to school here. She had a lot of friends, who are understandably distraught at the news.”

    Another was named as Leona Harper, a 19-year-old talented rugby player. Letterkenney Rugby Club said: “We are heartbroken to see our worst fears have been confirmed.”

    To Leona’s family and all of her teammates, we offer you our deepest condolences and support. There are no words that feel strong enough at a moment of deep sorrow such as this.”

    Another of the victims is believed to be a young girl who had gone to the shop to buy her mother a birthday cake.

    A family friend was reported to have said yesterday: “It’s heartbreaking, she was just a little girl.

    “She’d gone to the shop with her dad to buy her mum a birthday cake and they were caught up in the explosion. She’d just started school as well.

    “Her mother is absolutely devastated – the whole family are.

    “This is only a small village and this incident has really hit us hard.”

    It was also reported that locals said a mother, her young son and a farmer in his 60s were also feared dead.

    Police believe the explosion on Friday was a “tragic accident”.

    Supt David Kelly of Milford Garda station said: “We have to keep an open mind, but our information is pointing towards a tragic accident.”

    Michael D Higgins, President of Ireland, expressed his shock at the “terrible tragedy”. He said: “All our thoughts go out to those who have been affected.”

    Ireland’s deputy premier Leo Varadkar described the blast as an “unthinkable tragedy”. He said: “On Friday, the nation’s collective heart stopped when the news broke.

    “This unthinkable tragedy happened to families who were going about their daily lives like we do.

    “This freak accident has left many empty chairs at dinner tables.

    Irish premier Micheal Martin also visited the scene and met emergency workers.


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