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Funeral under way for five-year-old girl and father killed in Creeslough blast

Robert Garwe had taken his daughter Shauna to the shop to buy a birthday cake for her mother.

15 October 2022

The final funeral for victims of the Creeslough service station explosion is under way in the Co Donegal village.

Irish president Michael D Higgins is among the mourners at the funeral service for the youngest of the 10 victims of the blast, five-year-old Shauna Flanagan Garwe, and her father Robert Garwe at St Michael’s Church.

Residents in the rural Co Donegal village lined its main street once again for the sixth funeral service held at St Michael’s for victims of the tragedy in five days.

Mourners at Friday’s funeral for the oldest victim, Hugh Kelly, heard he had taken Mr Garwe and Shauna to the service station shop to buy a birthday cake for the youngster’s mother.

Mr Garwe, 50, originally from Zimbabwe, worked in construction and could often be seen travelling around the village on his scooter.

Shauna started at Scoil Mhuire National School in Creeslough just weeks ago.

Explosion at Donegal service station
Robert Garwe, 50, died alongside his daughter Shauna Flanagan Garwe, five (Handout/PA)

The funerals of fashion student Jessica Gallagher, 24, and Celtic supporter Martin McGill, 49, were held in Creeslough on Tuesday, while a funeral Mass for Catherine O’Donnell, 39, and her 13-year-old son James Monaghan took place on Wednesday afternoon.

A service for Sydney native James O’Flaherty, 48, was held on Wednesday in Derrybeg.

The funeral of shop worker and mother-of-four Martina Martin, 49, took place in Creeslough on Thursday morning and a service for 14-year-old Leona Harper was held at St Mary’s Church in Ramelton later that day.

Parish priest Father John Joe Duffy said the community is still in shock.

Explosion at Donegal service station
The coffin of Hugh ‘Hughie’ Kelly is carried from St Michael’s Church in Creeslough on Friday (PA)

“There is still that pall of silence, that grieving and mourning, that heartbreak visible to others who enter into the homes to try and offer consolation and comfort,” he said.

He urged people affected by the tragedy to contact counselling services made available to them – saying he intends to use them.

“We need help, we need the continued embrace of this country and beyond it, and prayers, and also very much so the professional supports that are being made so available to us, and thank all who are involved in that,” he said.

Mr Higgins has been attending the funerals of the victims since Wednesday and meeting the families of those affected.

The Taoiseach’s aide-de-camp Commandant Claire Mortimer, and Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue, have also been attending funerals.

Ireland’s police force An Garda Siochana continues to investigate the cause of the blast, which is being treated as an accident.

As well as the 10 killed in the blast, eight others were hurt.

Seven have been receiving treatment in Letterkenny University Hospital, while a man in his 20s remains in a critical condition in St James’s Hospital, Dublin.

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