The final funeral for the victims of the Creeslough gas station explosion is underway in the village of Co Donegal.
Irish President Michael D Higgins is among the mourners at the funeral service for the youngest of the 10 victims of the explosion, five-year-old Shauna Flanagan Garwe, and her father Robert Garwe at St Michael’s Church.
Residents of the rural village of Co Donegal lined the main street again for the sixth funeral service at St Michael’s for victims of the tragedy in five days.
Mourners at the funeral of the eldest victim, Hugh Kelly, learned that he had taken Mr. Garwe and Shauna to the gas station store to buy a birthday cake for the younger’s mother.
Mr Garwe, 50, from Zimbabwe, worked in construction and could often be seen riding his scooter through the village.
Shauna started at Scoil Mhuire National School in Creeslough a few weeks ago.
Shauna Flanagan Garwe, five, was the youngest of ten victims who died in the explosion at Applegreen Service Station in Creeslough, County Donegal, on October 7.
The coffin of five-year-old Shauna Flanagan Garwe, who died after an explosion at the Applegreen gas station in the village of Creeslough in Co Donegal, is carried into St Michael’s Church
The coffins of Robert Garwe and his five-year-old daughter Shauna Flanagan Garwe are carried to the funeral by porters
A long procession passed through the streets in Creeslough for the funeral today
The funerals of fashion student Jessica Gallagher, 24, and Celtic supporter Martin McGill, 49, took place 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-born James O’Flaherty, 48, was held in Derrybeg on Wednesday.
The funeral of shop assistant and mother of four Martina Martin, 49, took place Thursday morning in Creeslough and later that day a service was held for 14-year-old Leona Harper at St Mary’s Church in Ramelton.
Pastor John Joe Duffy said the community is still in shock. “There is still that veil of silence, that mourning and mourning, that heartbreak visible to others who enter the homes to try to provide comfort and solace,” he said.
He urged people affected by the tragedy to contact the emergency services provided to them, saying he intended to make use of them.
“We need help, we need the continued embrace of this country and beyond, and prayers, and also very much the professional support that is being put at our disposal, and thank you to everyone involved,” he said.
Higgins has been attending the funerals of the victims since Wednesday and meeting the families of those affected.
The Taoiseach’s aide, Commander Claire Mortimer, and Agriculture Secretary Charlie McConalogue, have also attended funerals.
Irish Police An Garda Siochana continues to investigate the cause of the blast, which is being treated as an accident.
In addition to the ten killed in the blast, eight others were injured.
Garda on the scene at the Applegreen gas station in the village of Creeslough in Co Donegal, where ten people were killed
Relatives follow the two hearses as the funerals of Robert Garwe, 50, and his daughter Shauna Flanagan Garwe, 5, take place today
Seven have been treated at Letterkenny University Hospital, while a man in his twenties remains in critical condition at St James’s Hospital, Dublin.
Two hearses carrying the coffins of Creeslough blast victims Robert Garwe and his five-year-old daughter Shauna Flanagan Garwe arrived side by side at St Michael’s Church.
The child’s small coffin was carried into the church first, followed by her father’s, prior to their requiem mass.
There were a number of pictures of Shauna and flowers in front of the altar in the church, which carried 10 candles – one for each of the victims of the tragedy.
Father John Joe Duffy began by welcoming the congregation, which included a representative of Irish Prime Minister Michael Martin and emergency services.
Father John Joe Duffy expressed his “most heartfelt condolences” to Mr Garwe’s partner, Aine, “on the death of your partner and your beautiful daughter,” and welcomed relatives who had traveled, including some from Zimbabwe.
Symbols were present representing various aspects of Mr Garwe and Shauna’s lives, including a scooter “which was an essential part of their lives.”
“I’m not sure who can go the fastest on the scooter, but I know Shauna could outrun her father on foot, whether it’s at the school gates, whether it’s on the road where I saw and met her so many times.” Or at the store where she helped stack the shelves with the girls,” Father Duffy told the mourners.
There was also a “hunt together” catapult and Shauna’s favorite unicorn teddy at Creeslough Church.