It sounded, locals later said, like a bomb blast. A terrible explosion ripped through the cluster of shops and apartments at Lafferty’s petrol station in the small Donegal village of Creeslough nestled in the shadow of Muckish mountain. A beautiful, scenic area which has now been visited and changed utterly by horror.
All those who died in the devastating tragedy have now been named.
They are: James O Flaherty (48), Jessica Gallagher (24), Martin McGill (49), Catherine O’Donnell (39) and her son James Monaghan (13), Hugh Kelly (59), Martina Martin (49), Robert Garwe (50) and his little daughter Shauna Flanagan Garwe (5), and Leona Harper (14).
The nation is united in mourning for each and every one, and for their broken-hearted families, whose unimaginable sorrow is indescribable.
A dad bringing his small daughter to the shop to buy a treat. A gifted young rugby player excited to be part of her team. A mother shopping with her beloved son, and so many more. All a vital part of their community; all loved, all valued, all irreplaceable.
How can those who have been left behind bear the burden of such a grievous tragedy? Their families, friends, neighbours and others worked night and day in a desperate effort to find life in the rubble, to save one more, to cling onto hope. All that can be done now is pray and grieve and send what support is needed.
Eight of those who survived but were injured in the explosion remain. One, described as being in a “critical condition” has been transferred to a hospital in Dublin.
Gardai believe that a gas leak was the likely cause. An accident that killed ten people and blew apart the lives of so many more.
As local priest, Fr John Joe Duffy said: “It’s devastating, it’s shocking, it’s numbing. There are no words.”
May their souls rest in peace, and may their families be comforted. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a n-anamacha