Creeslough prepares to remember victims of petrol station blast on anniversary

A memorial service will be held on Saturday afternoon in Creeslough, Co Donegal marking the first anniversary of the devastating explosion in the Donegal village.

Ten people were killed when the blast ripped through a service station shop and the flats above.

Most of the victims had popped into the shop that Friday afternoon to buy something.

Victims of the Creeslough explosion.

The build up to the anniversary is filled with dread for bereaved families and many locals.

Majella McFadden is the newly appointed chair of the Creeslough Community Association.

She told UTV it brings into focus how the tragedy profoundly changed the village communithy.

“Everybody is just reliving where they were just this time last year, when life seemed so simple and everything was good, just for that to end in an instant. It’s still surreal, we are just taking it day by day.”

The tragedy has had a huge impact on the local community.

A year on many are seeking out counselling.

The Wave Trauma Centre in Northern Ireland was asked to assist with the aftermath 

Wave developed expertise supporting victims of the Troubles which is being used to help Creeslough cope.

Sandra Peak, chief executive officer of Wave said: "It was such a massive event for such a small community... a community where everybody knew each other.

"So they wanted to draw on our experience to see what we could do that would utilise our experience that would benefit them in terms of planning ahead."

Initially the explosion was described as a tragic accident and a gas leak suspected.

But year on and the exact cause still hasn’t been determined and Gardai are investigating.

So far they’ve taken over 900  statements and are following 1,350 lines of inquiry.

Experts in energy systems are also involved in the probe.

The scene of tragedy remains boarded up.

Those affected  will soon be able to access support services through a brand new Community Hub.

But Majella McFadden says the journey to recovery is in its early stage

“It’s about the families,” says Majella, “It’s about the injured, both physically and mentally. We need to rally around these people over the next number of years.”

A public memorial service is to take place at the scene on Saturday afternoon, at around the same time as the explosion happened on that fateful Friday afternoon.

Later a Mass will take place in St Michael's Chapel in the village for family and friends of the victims.It will be streamed online.

Creeslough is preparing to remember a tragedy that can never be forgotten.

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