Taoiseach: Words cannot convey the fathomless grief over Creeslough blast

Taoiseach: Words Cannot Convey The Fathomless Grief Over Creeslough Blast
Taoiseach Micheál Martin led expressions of sympathy in the Dáil on Tuesday. Photo: PA Images
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Michelle Devane, PA

The entire country stands with the community of Creeslough who are struggling to make sense of “enormous and heartbreaking loss”, Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said.

The Fianna Fáil said words cannot convey the “fathomless grief” of the tragedy in the small village.


Mr Martin made the remarks as he led expressions of sympathy in the Dáil for the 10 people who died following an explosion at a petrol station in the village on Friday.

Explosion at Donegal service station
The damage at the service station in Creeslough, Co Donegal (Brian Lawless/PA)

Mr Martin said the men, women and children represented “everything good and kind and beautiful about Creeslough, Donegal and our country”.


“Fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, each one an enormous, incalculable loss in the lives of those around them,” he told the Dáil.

“This is a community bereft, a close-knit people in deep sadness and mourning, devastated by what has happened. But it’s also a community of great strength and resilience, pulling together to support each other through this terrible time.”

Mr Martin said he met many people over the weekend who shared stories of the “most extraordinary courage, commitment, heroism and love” in the aftermath of the incident.

The Taoiseach and other political leaders, including Tánaiste Leo Varadkar and Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald, visited the scene of the blast on Saturday.


The expressions of sympathy were made in the Dáil as the first funerals were held on Tuesday for victims of the blast.

Explosion at Donegal service station
The hearse carrying Jessica Gallagher (24) arrives at St Michael’s Church, Creeslough, for her funeral Mass (Liam McBurney/PA)

“As the people of Creeslough begin the rituals of funerals and burials, we gather as an Oireachtas this afternoon to offer our sincere sympathy, express our shared respect for the bereaved and the injured and to remember and honour those who have died,” Mr Martin said.


“It is important that those struggling to make sense of the enormous and heartbreaking loss now confronting them, know that the entire nation is with them in spirit.

“Words on their own cannot comfort the fathomless grief that so many will feel in the weeks and months ahead but what we can do and what I know we will do is to be there for them.

“Individually across this house and collectively as an Oireachtas in the service of all the people of Ireland, we stand with the community of Creeslough and the people of Donegal at home and abroad.”



Mr Martin paid tribute to the “true courage and dedication” of emergency services and healthcare staff who cared for people in the aftermath of the explosion.

“We are reminded of the critical role they play in our national life and we thank them for being there in our darkest moments of need.”

Mr Martin added: “We put our arms around the bereaved and the injured. We pledge to support this community now and in the time ahead as it comes to terms with this trauma and we remember those who have died: Hugh, Robert, Martina, Martin, James, Catherine, Jessica, Leona, James and Shauna.”

Tanaiste Leo Varadkar said the “nation is in tears” following the tragedy, adding the “world stopped” as people learned of the “terrible tragedy, a tragedy which makes no sense and whose only lesson is pain and loss”.

“Since then, we’ve seen the best of each other, a small country becoming one big community to search together, to grieve together and to heal together,” he said.

“This week the world is watching us and it’s seeing a nation in tears. As a people from this place, we send our condolences to all those whose grief is still raw and painful and all too terrible to comprehend.

“A nation stands with you. A nation mourns with you.”

Mr Varadkar said the Government will help the people of Creeslough in the coming months and years.

“Today, we’re a country torn apart by grief, but we’re also a community joining together to help those worst affected and to do what we can to support each other,” he told the Dáil.

“As a government, we’ll put the full resources of the state behind the efforts to rebuild a broken community to heal the many emotional and physical wounds.

“That requires our help in a medium and long-term as well because the deepest wounds are invisible, and they can last for a lifetime.”

Sinn Féin TD Matt Carthy said there were “no words that properly express the heartbreak, pain and sorrow felt by so many”.

“Ten precious lives gone, a small community devastated,” he said.

“The shock from this small village was felt across Ireland and beyond. Irish people everywhere are stunned, many naturally feeling that Creeslough could be our community, our place, our loved ones.”

Mr Carthy described the community response in the immediate aftermath of the explosion as “immense” and he paid tribute to the emergency services both north and south who came to assist the rescue efforts.

“What they did in Creeslough will never be forgotten, not in that small community or anywhere else in our land,” he added.

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