Donegal petrol station explosion victims named by police

Investigation continues into blast at Applegreen service station in Creeslough

Top row from left, Leona Harper, 14, Robert Garwe, 50, Shauna Flanagan Garwe, 5, Jessica Gallagher, 24, and James O'Flaherty, 48, and bottom row from left, Martina Martin, 49, Hugh Kelly, 59, Catherine O'Donnell, 39, James Monaghan, 13, and Martin McGill, 49, were named as the people who died in the explosion at Applegreen service station in the village of Creeslough, Co Donegal, on Friday. PA
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Police have named the 10 people killed in an explosion at a petrol station in the Republic of Ireland, where a five-year-old girl and her father are among the victims.

An investigation continues into the blast at the Applegreen service station and convenience store in Creeslough, Co Donegal, on Friday afternoon.

Those who died were James O’Flaherty, 48, Jessica Gallagher, 24, Martin McGill, 49, Catherine O’Donnell, 39, and her 13-year-old son James Monaghan, Hugh Kelly, 59, Martina Martin, 49, Robert Garwe, 50, and his five-year-old daughter Shauna Flanagan Garwe, and Leona Harper, who was 14.

Police said a man in his 20s remains in a critical condition at St James’s Hospital in Dublin.

The seven other surviving casualties continue to receive treatment in Letterkenny University Hospital and are in a stable condition.

Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin has met those who were admitted to hospital, the medical staff who were on duty on the day of the explosion, and crew members from Letterkenny Fire Station.

Accompanying Mr Martin were Agriculture Minister and Donegal TD Charlie McConalogue and Tánaiste (deputy head of government) Leo Varadkar.

Meanwhile, Pope Francis has offered his condolences to the people of Creeslough in a statement sent by his representative to the Bishop of Raphoe.

“His Holiness Pope Francis was saddened to learn of the loss of life and destruction caused by the explosion in Creeslough and he expresses his spiritual closeness to all those suffering in the aftermath of this tragedy," it said.

“While entrusting the deceased to the merciful love of almighty God, His Holiness implores the divine blessings of consolation and healing upon the injured, the displaced and the families coping with pain of loss.

“As a pledge of strength and peace in the Lord, the Holy Father sends his blessing to all the people of Ireland.”

The remains of the deceased are at the hospital in Letterkenny where postmortem examinations will continue over the next few days.

Police said results will not be released for operational reasons.

The Garda Technical Bureau, with assistance from other agencies, will continue to examine the scene, which remains cordoned off.

Garda Superintendent Liam Geraghty told reporters that what has happened will have “a huge impact to a small rural community”.

“They are all local people. They are all very much involved in the community. They were all people who were shopping in their local shop," he said.

“We have very, very young children. The schools are going to be affected, the GAA (Gaelic sports) clubs are going to be affected, the local church, in general the community is going to be severely affected by this incident.

“But it is a very strong community as was seen here on Friday afternoon with the response of families, friends and neighbours who came to people’s rescue.

“So I am sure the community will come together and will support each other.”

He said there were “very traumatic scenes” on Friday afternoon.

“Emergency responders from right across Co Donegal and wider and our colleagues in Northern Ireland responded to very, very traumatic scenes, and then processed into dealing with recovery of fatalities at the scene,” he said.

He said most of the police involved are local.

“These are the people they work with and the people that they meet on a daily basis,” he said.

At Mass on Sunday in St Michael’s Church in Creeslough, Bishop of Raphoe Alan McGuckian said the people of the village are “living through a nightmare of shock and horror”.

The explosion is being treated by police as a “tragic accident”.

Updated: October 10, 2022, 5:31 AM
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