Donegal explosion: Girl, 5, and two teenagers among 10 killed in petrol station blast as all victims named

Eight people were hospitalised after the ‘tragic accident’ in Creeslough, Ireland, with one still in a critical condition

Lamiat Sabin
Sunday 09 October 2022 18:24 BST
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Donegal explosion: Irish police name ten people killed in service station incident
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All 10 deceased victims of a petrol station explosion in Ireland have been named, including a five-year-old girl and two teenagers.

Applegreen service station in Creeslough, Co Donegal, collapsed in a “tragic accident” on Friday, said police, who are still investigating the deadly blast.

On Sunday, police identified the victims as 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 daughter Shauna Flanagan Garwe, five; and Leona Harper, 14.

Shauna Flanagan Garwe was just five years old and the youngest victim of the blast
Shauna Flanagan Garwe was just five years old and the youngest victim of the blast (PA)
Leona Harper, 14, was a local rugby player
Leona Harper, 14, was a local rugby player (PA)

Shauna, who is said to have just started school, had reportedly gone to the shop with her father to buy a birthday cake for her mother when they were both killed.

A man in his twenties remains in critical condition in St James’s Hospital in Dublin. Seven other casualties continue to receive treatment in Letterkenny University Hospital and remain in a stable condition.

Meanwhile, at the time of writing, nearly £180,000 has been donated to help victims of the disaster. Gerard McFadden – who lives in Australia but is originally from Creeslough – set up a GoFundMe fundraiser for the victims and their next of kin.

Catherine O'Donnell, 39, and her 13-year-old son James Monaghan were both killed
Catherine O'Donnell, 39, and her 13-year-old son James Monaghan were both killed (PA)
Jessica Gallagher, 24, also died in the explosion
Jessica Gallagher, 24, also died in the explosion (PA)

“I would like to raise as much funds as possible to help the families of the deceased and injured through these challenging times ahead,” he wrote. “Thoughts and prayers are with the families and all the community.”

From Monday, people can make donations to the Creeslough Community Support Fund at almost 1,000 post offices in Ireland, the Irish postal service An Post announced.

Robert Garwe, 50, was Shauna’s father
Robert Garwe, 50, was Shauna’s father (PA)
Martina Martin has been identified as one of the 10 killed
Martina Martin has been identified as one of the 10 killed (PA)

The funds will be channelled through the Irish Red Cross to provide help to those bereaved, injured or made homeless by the explosion, it said.

The company said in a statement: “The An Post board, management and staff across Ireland send their deepest sympathies, thoughts and prayers to all those who have lost loved ones in the Creeslough tragedy, to those who are injured, to the postmistress and Post Office staff, and all the Creeslough community.

Martin McGill, 49, was among the victims
Martin McGill, 49, was among the victims (PA)

“An Post will accept donations for a special Creeslough Community Support Fund at all its 920 post offices nationwide from this Monday, 10 October.

“All donations by cash or debit card will be channelled through the Irish Red Cross to provide practical support and services to all those who have been bereaved, injured or made homeless by Friday’s tragedy. There will be no fee payable for making donations.

“An Post and the Irish Red Cross will work with state service providers and local groups to ensure that supports are available to all those who need them in the weeks and months ahead.”

Hugh Kelly, 59, was killed in the explosion
Hugh Kelly, 59, was killed in the explosion (PA)
James O’Flaherty, 48, also died in the incident
James O’Flaherty, 48, also died in the incident (PA)

The entire nation is in mourning and is “deeply saddened” by the tragedy, said Ireland’s prime minister Micheal Martin, who visited the site of the explosion on Saturday evening.

Mr Martin thanked the emergency services for their “extraordinary” work. He added: “It is a very close-knit community and our heart goes out to them.”

Emergency services have been at the scene of the disaster since Friday
Emergency services have been at the scene of the disaster since Friday (PA)

Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald and the party’s deputy leader Michelle O’Neill also visited Creeslough on Saturday evening, as did the country’s deputy premier Leo Varadkar.

Bishop of Raphoe Alan McGuckian said the people of Creeslough are “living through a nightmare of shock and horror”.

Addressing his congregation on Sunday, he said: “Over the last couple of days, as people gathered in groups to talk about what has happened here these last days, the one word that stands out for me in relation to the explosion is something somebody said.

The tragedy is said to have devastated the ‘close knit’ community
The tragedy is said to have devastated the ‘close knit’ community (AFP via Getty)

“It is so random, they said. And what she was referring to was, anybody could have been caught up in that. There’s something deeply shocking and upsetting about what life throws up.

“We ask why did it have to happen here, to this person, that person; why did they have to be there at that awful moment?

“The bereaved and the injured have to carry the awful insecurity of that question. Others of us could easily carry a certain sense of guilt.

“Why was it them and not me who was hit by the randomness of this tragedy? There is fundamentally a terrible realisation that we are not masters of our own destiny.

“We are very fragile, all of us – fragile and vulnerable.”

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