Tributes have arrived for the people of Creeslough in Co Donegal after an explosion at a petrol station in the heart of the village yesterday afternoon.
ardaí have confirmed that seven people are now dead as the search and recovery for more fatalities continues today. Eight people were taken to hospital for medical treatment yesterday.
Rescuers arrived at the scene of the incident around 3:20 p.m. on Friday.
President Michael D. Higgins offered his condolences this morning, saying the tragedy was a “terrible blow” to the “close-knit” local community.
He said every loss and injury will be felt by every member of the community and “far beyond”.
“May I say as President what I believe will be the shock that will be shared by all people across the country as they learn of the terrible tragedy that took place in Creeslough, Co Donegal,” he said.
“All of our thoughts must go out to all those affected. Those who have received the news of the loss of a loved one, the injured and especially those who are anxiously awaiting news from their loved ones.
“Special respect must be paid to members of the local community and emergency services across the island who responded so quickly to the site of the blast and worked through the night.
“All our best thoughts and prayers go out to those who have lost their lives and their families.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a n-anamacha.”
Donegal County Council Fire Brigade, An Garda Síochána, HSE National Ambulance Service and Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service remain on site as the situation develops.
A large number of people injured in the blast were taken to Letterkenny General Hospital and Altnagelvin Hospital in Derry.
In a statement, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said his thoughts and prayers are with those who have lost their lives and those injured in a “devastating explosion”.
Mr Martin described it as “the darkest days for Donegal and the whole country”.
“I would like to extend my deepest condolences to her family, friends and the entire Creeslough community at this darkest of days for Donegal and the whole country.
“The people of this island will be stunned by this tragic death with the same sense of shock and utter devastation as the people of Creeslough.”
Mr Martin added: “I would like to thank all members of the Ambulance Services from across the North West and Northern Ireland who responded to the scene so quickly and who are working through the night in extremely traumatic circumstances.”
Singer and TV presenter Brian McFadden said his thoughts are with the people of Creeslough, which he has described as his “hometown”.
In a post online, he said: “Sending my thoughts to all my family and friends in my hometown of Creeslough. My heart is broken by the news. I was only there a few weeks. I pray for you all x.”
Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said his thoughts and prayers are with the people of Creeslough.
“I’m afraid it’s a horror story. At 3:30 p.m. young people come out of school looking forward to the weekend, it’s heartbreaking,” he told the Anton Savage Show on Newstalk.
“Our prayers and thoughts are with them, it’s not just a day, it’s a lifetime. It’s stunning to watch the scenes and see the effort that goes into saving people. At this stage, it’s just so sad and so awful.”
Donegal GAA postponed all adult games this weekend after the tragedy last night.
It said the prayers of all Donegal Gaels were with the Creeslough Parish.
“The extent of the deaths and injuries in tonight’s horrific explosion is not yet clear, but there is little doubt that a tragedy of epic proportions is unfolding,” it said.
“The thoughts and prayers of everyone associated with CLG Dhún na nGall are with the community of Creeslough, the hard working emergency services and the Gaels at CLG Naomh Micheál at this terrible time.”
Higher Education Minister Simon Harris thanked the emergency services for their dedicated work.
“Thinking of everyone in Creeslough, Donegal tonight. The thoughts and prayers of a nation are with you all. Thank you to everyone who works in our emergency services,” he said.
Sinn Féin First Minister-elect Michelle O’Neill said the whole country has the community of Cresslough and Co Donegal “on our minds”.
“We hope and pray that anyone trapped or missing will be rescued, brought to safety by emergency services and reunited with loved ones,” she said.
Justice Secretary Helen McEntee said: “Heartbreaking news from Creeslough tonight. Thoughts and prayers for those who lost loved ones in this appalling tragedy and for the entire community. Also remember our front line services working in Donegal as well as those helping out from Northern Ireland.”
https://www.independent.ie/news/donegal-explosion-president-michael-d-higgins-leads-tributes-following-terrible-tragedy-42050272.html Donegal explosion: President Micheal D Higgins leads tributes after ‘horrible tragedy’ in Creeslough