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Irish bishops express sympathy for bereaved after Creeslough explosion

10 October 2022


Mourners hold candles during during a vigil in Castlefinn, Co Donegal, on Sunday, for victims of an explosion at the Applegreen filling station in Creeslough

Mourners hold candles during during a vigil in Castlefinn, Co Donegal, on Sunday, for victims of an explosion at the Applegreen filling station in Cre...

ANGLICAN and Roman Catholic bishops in Ireland have joined Pope Francis in offering prayers for those killed in an explosion in Creeslough, County Donegal, on Friday.

On Sunday, Irish police released the names of the ten people who were killed in the explosion. The victims included three children, among them Shauna Flanagan Garwe, who was five years old.

The blast destroyed a petrol station and a shop, and damaged surrounding buildings, in the village, which is in the north-western part of the Republic of Ireland.

On Saturday, the Archbishop of Armagh, the Most Revd John McDowell, and the Archbishop of Dublin, Dr Michael Jackson, released a statement with the bishop of Derry & Raphoe, in whose Church of Ireland diocese Creeslough is situated.

“On behalf of Church of Ireland people across this island, we wish to express our sympathy to all who have been bereaved,” the statement read. It continued: “Our hearts also go out to those who have been injured and to their families, along with the assurance of our prayers in the weeks to come.

“May all who have been affected in any way by the tragedy know the presence of the God of all comfort very near to them.”

The RC Bishop of Raphoe, the Rt Revd Alan McGuckian, said in a statement on Saturday that “God always walks with us, in light and in dark, so let us embrace the power of prayer at this time of need and He will be there for us.”

In a letter to Bishop McGuckian, the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, expressed Pope Francis’s “spiritual closeness to all those suffering in the aftermath of this tragedy.”

“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,” the letter continued.

The Taoiseach, Micheál Martin, said that it was one of the “darkest of days for Donegal and the entire country”, as he attended a vigil mass in Creeslough on Saturday evening, along with other political figures from both sides of the border.

On Sunday, The Irish Times reported that investigators were keeping an “open mind” over the cause of the explosion, but that it was “strongly suspected” to have been caused by a gas leak.

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