The nation is in mourning after this terrible tragedy involving Donegal

Soon we will see 10 funerals in Creeslough in Co Donegal, a beautiful little village now plunged into unimaginable grief.

Words cannot express the sorrow and trauma that has shattered the heart of this quiet and close-knit community at the deaths of people aged five to 59.

There is no one in the area who does not know some of the 10 victims or their families. They were in the wrong place at the wrong time when this massive explosion ripped apart Lafferty’s store and gas station. It was a random but violent blast, and she assigned fatalities that were all so random.

Away from Donegal, people in every semi-community across the country were deeply shocked and moved.

It takes no imagination to picture these 10 lost people as someone’s child, parent, brother, sister, cousin, neighbor, friend, teammate, or workmate.

Many of us will ponder that any one of us could be fatally struck in a similar manner pretty much anywhere on a similarly calm and random afternoon. We can also reflect that each of us could go there if not for fate or the grace of the divine, and reminds us how fickle human existence can be.

The shock and silence in Donegal, and the North West in general, was accompanied by an air of national confusion and sadness. People across Northern Ireland, in communities who have special and personal ties to Donegal just over the border, have expressed their heartfelt sympathy and solidarity. Democratic Unionist Party leader Jeffrey Donaldson has publicly expressed his and his party’s sympathy.

It’s a small grace at a time like this, but some residents of Creeslough and the surrounding area have already said they appreciate the level of solidarity already being shown across the island. Further and sustained expressions of solidarity are poor substitutes for such a brutal loss – but ultimately, these expressions of sympathy also have real and practical benefits.

We must also remember the men and women of the emergency services who worked heroically and against horrific disadvantages to dig victims out of the rubble on Friday, Saturday and into yesterday. Stories of people lifting masonry and iron with their bare hands are legion. These people will also need practical support and help in the coming days and weeks.

The community of Creeslough and Donegal in general is in for a really tough week of pain. We know that the bereaved face many years of grief and confusion after the initial media glamor has faded.

In the days ahead, we must all learn as a nation to take time to mourn, to weep, and to face the awfulness of this profoundly shocking tragedy. But out of all this apparent awfulness we must also learn kindness, fortitude, and some wisdom. Solidarity, prayers, good wishes and support can become real tools to promote eventual healing. Ar dheis De go raibh siad go léir. The nation is in mourning after this terrible tragedy involving Donegal

Fry Electronics Team

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