Donegal blast: Parents hug children at a vigil for 10 people killed in petrol station blast in Ireland | UK News

Parents embraced their children as hundreds of people gathered for a vigil in memory of the 10 people who died in the explosion at a petrol station in Ireland.

People also carried candles at the vigil held in the town of Milford, about half an hour’s drive from Cleeslough where the disaster happened on Friday.

Prayers were said and music was played, including a song called Creeslough, written and performed by a local musician.

The crowd sang the Irish-language hymn A Mhuire Mhathair (Mother Mary) at the end of the vigil.

Hot drinks and cookies were handed out afterwards as people gathered to process the news in the aftermath of the tragedy.

This is the first of nearly 20 vigils due to be held across County Donegal on Sunday.

Read more: A 5-year-old girl and her father were buying a birthday cake for mum when they were killed in an explosion

They will take place after it emerged that the youngest victim was buying her mother a birthday cake from the gas station shop at the time of the explosion.

Shauna Flanagan Garwe was killed alongside her father Robert Garwe, 50.

Catherine O’Donnell, 39, and her 13-year-old son James Monaghan were also among the dead in what was described as a “freak accident”.

At a press conference on Sunday, police said the other six victims were James O’Flaherty, 48, Jessica Gallagher, 24, Martin McGill, 49, Hugh Kelly, 59, Martina Martin, 49 and Leona Harper, 14.

A man in his 20s is in critical condition at Dublin Hospital, while seven other people are being treated at Letterkenny University Hospital and are described as being in stable condition.

The 10 victims in the top row, left to right: Leona Harper, 14, Robert Garwe, 50, Shauna Flanagan Garwe, 5, Jessica Gallagher, 24, and James O'Flaherty, 48, and ( bottom row, left to right) Martina Martin, 49, Hugh Kelly, 59, Catherine O'Donnell, 39, her 13-year-old son James Monaghan, and Martin McGill, 49
Victims (left to right from top row): Leona Harper, Robert Garwe, Shauna Flanagan Garwe, Jessica Gallagher, James O’Flaherty, Martina Martin, Hugh Kelly, Catherine O’Donnell, James Monaghan and Martin McGill

Family ‘in pieces’ after youngest victim died buying her mum’s birthday cake

Tom Parmenter - News Correspondent

Tom Parmentier

national correspondent


The youngest victim of the Creeslough explosion was buying a birthday cake for her mother when she was killed.

Five-year-old Shauna Flanagan Garwe died alongside her father, known as Bob, as they shopped at the gas station not far from their home.

The family posted a photo of Shauna in her elementary school uniform at the gates of her school.

Her 50-year-old father, who was Zimbabwean, had taken her after school to buy the cake as the family prepared to celebrate Shauna’s mother’s birthday.

Police in Ireland have confirmed that the girls’ primary school will be working to support pupils and staff over the coming days.

A local who spent time with Shauna’s family over the weekend said they were “in pieces”.

The man who did not want to be named told Sky News: “They are distraught.

“They have family traveling to be with them, but you can’t imagine that, can you?

“It’s just tragic, this poor little girl – none of these people deserved this.”

Meanwhile, the pope offered his condolences to the people of Ireland following the blast.

A statement sent by his representative to Bishop of Raphoe Alexander McGuckian reads: “His Holiness Pope Francis was saddened to learn of the loss of life and destruction caused by the explosion at Creeslough and he expresses his spiritual closeness to all who suffer as a result of this tragedy.

“While entrusting the deceased to the merciful love of Almighty God, His Holiness implore divine blessings of consolation and healing upon the injured, displaced and families grappling with the 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.”


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