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'Living in a nightmare of shock and horror': All 10 victims killed in Irish petrol station explosion named by police
9 October 2022, 13:04 | Updated: 10 October 2022, 05:55
Ten people who lost their lives in the horror service station explosion in Ireland have been named by police.
A five-year-old girl and her father who were at the service station to buy a birthday cake, and a woman and her teenage son, have been named among the victims of the blast, while a man in his 20s remains in a critical condition.
They were killed in an explosion at the Applegreen Service Station in the village of Creeslough, Co Donegal, on Friday afternoon.
Irish police said that another man, in his 20s, remains in a ‘critical condition’ in St James’s Hospital in Dublin.
The seven other surviving casualties continue to receive treatment in hospital and remain in a stable condition.
Sniffer dogs had been deployed to comb through the rubble in a desperate search for all the missing people. Crowds gathered around the cordon to say prayers in what was described as a ‘dark day for Ireland’.
An Garda Síochána say it will continue to peice together how this happened with searches at the scene over the next week.
The victims are:
Catherine O’Donnell, 39, and her 14-year-old son James Monaghan
Robert Garwe, 50
His five-year-old daughter Shauna Flanagan Garwe
14-year-old Leona Harper
Jessica Gallagher, 24
James O’Flaherty, 48
Martin McGill, 49
Martina Martin, 49
Hugh Kelly, 59
A family friend told the MailOnline that Mr Garwe and Shauna had gone to buy a birthday cake for her mother, saying: ‘It’s heartbreaking, she was just a little girl. She’d gone to the shop with her dad to buy her mum a birthday cake and they were caught up in the explosion. She’d just started school as well.”
Garda Superintendent Liam Geraghty told reporters that what has happened will have "a huge impact to a small rural community" and spoke about the "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, saying: "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.
"We have very, very young children. The schools are going to be impacted, the GAA clubs are going to be impacted, the local church, in general the community is going to be severely impacted 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."
Bishop of Raphoe Alan McGuckian said the people of Creeslough, Co Donegal, are "living through a nightmare of shock and horror".
Addressing the congregation during Sunday mass at St Michael's Church, the bishop said: "At this time, you the people of Creeslough are living through a nightmare of shock and horror since the very heart of the community was deeply wounded on Friday afternoon.
"It's an experience that we are living through together. But we recognise that the trauma is different for every single individual. We hold in our hearts most especially those for whom this is most acute.
"We think firstly of the 10 who have lost their lives and gone to God, and then of those nearest to them who are most cruelly bereaved.
"And then we think of the injured, struggling to recover in body and spirit. We think of everyone, both from the community and the first responders in the public services who have carried the burden of being close to the tragedy as it has unfolded.
"And we remember everyone here in Creeslough, and indeed throughout Ireland and further, who feels helpless and shaken by what has happened."
This is a breaking news story, more to follow.