'Tsunami of grief' in Creeslough as funerals of Martin McGill and Jessica Gallagher held

The community of Creeslough has come together to begin to say their final goodbyes to their family members, friends and neighbours who lost their lives in the cruelest of circumstances.

A total of 10 people were killed in last Friday's explosion at the petrol station in the Co Donegal village.

Parish Priest Father John Joe Duffy said: "There's a tsunami of grief, it's nothing we ever could have imagined nor could any community have imagined, there are no words."

On Tuesday, businesses closed and hundreds of people packed St Michael’s Church as the first two funerals took place.

Mourners came together to bid farewell to 24-year-old Jessica Gallagher, who was described as a “jewel” of her family.

Fr Duffy talked of her strength of character and how her determination shone through, saying: “Her confidence was unstoppable."

Not long after Jessica was laid to rest, another funeral was held in the church, for 49-year-old Martin McGill.

Fr Duffy said it was "against the odds that Martin would not have been in the shop" - he was in the filling station up to five times a day doing messages for others, but on Friday he went to the shop and never came home.

Mourners heard about a man who was a carer to his core.

“He was just so caring," said Father John Joe Duffy. "The caring flowed out from him. Each Sunday he would be in this church, he would be down there lighting candles.

"I think he lit more candles than I ever lit anyway in my life. I don’t think anyone could break that record."

A further eight funerals are to take place in the coming days, and Irish President Michal D Higgins is expected to be among the mourners on Wednesday.

Many locals in the village will attend every wake and every funeral.

Meanwhile as the funerals were underway, Gardai were at the scene of tragedy as work continues to establish exactly what caused the blast.

Victims of Cresslough petrol station explosion

James O Flaherty was one of 10 people who died in Friday's explosion in Co Donegal.
Martin McGill, 49, has been described as a "brilliant person" by his neighbours. He was one of 10 victims of the Co Donegal explosion.
Catherine O Donnell, 39 years and her son James Monaghan, 13 years, died in the explosion in Co Donegal.
Creeslough explosion victim Martina Martin, aged 49.
Robert Garwe, 50, died alongside his daughter Credit: handout/PA
Shauna Flanagan Garwe, aged 5, was one of the 10 victims of the explosion.

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