A doctor who rushed to the scene of the Creeslough tragedy where ten people died has told how he only realized one of the victims was his neighbor afterwards.
r Dan Gill, who is a GP based in nearby Falcarragh, was a neighbor of one of the 10 victims, James O’Flaherty.
Dr. Gill arrived at the scene of the explosion Friday afternoon and said he didn’t know what to expect.
“We both built houses close to the center of the village, he was a lovely man, quiet, humorous, he was from Australia and I’m half Australian too, so we had a lot to talk about,” he told RTÉ’s. Morning Ireland.
“He was very, very close to his son Hamish, they were always around together. It’s just awful. He married a lovely Donegal woman, Treacy, I think they lived in Scotland before here and then moved they home.
“He’s an engineer, he worked from home, so every time I drove in the house I could see him standing at a big bank of computers doing his work. I found out he was dead when I got there, it was shocking.
“When I got there there were a lot of paramedics, the locals were there out in force in a big, long line pulling out bricks. Most of the people with the major trauma had already left the scene, which is a credit to the emergency services. “
The Donegal community has rallied to support the families of the 10 victims who died following the explosion at a petrol station on Friday.
Locals are braced for an incredibly difficult week as funerals begin to take place.
Editor of the Creeslough View Marie Duffy said people are “shell-shocked” after the tragedy on Friday.
“It’s a real cliché, but there are no real words to describe how people feel. A lot of people are just in shock and I suspect it won’t be until the next few days when funerals take place and people try to go back to their lives that have been changed forever, it won’t be until that happens , that people are really starting to feel the impact,” she told RTÉ.
Mrs Duffy said there are a number of people offering their homes to accommodate family members traveling home for the funerals.
“People from all over the world have been sending us messages of support, families who have been touched but can’t get home,” she said.
“At the moment we have about 15 houses in nearby areas that have been offered, we have single rooms and donations are coming in, people are just trying to help. Many people will come home for funerals.
“The community is being wonderfully supported by health professionals and psychologists, but I suspect that as the fuss dies down, the media goes away, the politicians go home, people are left grieving and this is not going to be resolved in weeks or months. this is a generational issue , and we will need support in the coming years.”
Sinn Féin councilor for Glenties John Séamuis Ó Ferraig said his daughter was friends with Jessica Gallagher, one of the 10 victims.
“Jessica was a lovely girl, very bubbly and she met my daughter through her sister and they remained friends. My daughter is traveling from Belfast to attend Jessica’s funeral,” he said.
“It is very sad that a young person of 24 years is taken away from this world at such a young age with his whole life ahead of him.
“It’s heartbreaking, she was a globetrotter and the community is just devastated.”
Sir. Ó Fearraig said the whole Creeslough community is going through a lot of pain.
“It was total chaos that happened on Friday, the local community running to help the injured at the scene, a lot of screaming and panic,” he said.
“There was no fire, no smoke, it was just unbelievable, you’d think it was a dream but it wasn’t, it was reality. It’s the worst I’ve seen as a local representative, but nothing compared to this have I ever seen in my life.”
Formerly a teacher at Mulroy College in Milford, Dr. Martin Gormley, offered his condolences to the 10 victims and their families and wished the injured a “speedy recovery”.
Dr. Gormley said the school will support pupils in the coming weeks and months as a priority and during “the long winter nights”.
He said today would be “hardest” day in Mulroy College history, when victims Leona Harper and James Monaghan were students.
“Yesterday afternoon, as part of the critical incident plan at the school, principal Fiona Temple made the school available to the community. We had parents, students, former staff and the families there and everyone came together,” he said.
“It was a very sad occasion but it gave the pupils a chance to talk about both James and Leona and we also had members of Martin present, the four children there. The primary purpose of the school is to support the children.
“Hugh (Leona’s father) was there yesterday and he shared lots of stories about Leona, very proud of his daughter. Donna (Leona’s mother) was also present, Leona was a keen rugby player, she also recently took a keen interest in boxing following the exploits of Katie Taylor and Kellie Harrington.
“They talked animatedly, walked through the door and saw little reminders of Leona, passed her bedroom and saw her toothbrush in the bathroom, all very small things, but so, so sad.”