Irish bishops express sympathy for those bereaved after Creeslough blast

Anglican and Roman Catholic bishops in Ireland joined Pope Francis in offering prayers for those killed in an explosion in Creeslough, County Donegal, on Friday.

On Sunday, Irish police released the names of the ten people killed in the blast. Among the victims were three children, including five-year-old Shauna Flanagan Garwe.

The blast destroyed a petrol station and a shop, and damaged surrounding buildings, in the village, which is in the northwestern part of the Republic of Ireland.

On Saturday, the Archbishop of Armagh, Mgr John McDowell, and the Archbishop of Dublin, Dr Michael Jackson, released a statement with the Bishop of Derry & Raphoe, in whose Church of Ireland diocese Creeslough is located.

“On behalf of the people of the Church of Ireland across this island, we wish to express our sympathy to all who have been bereaved,” the statement read. He continued: “Our thoughts are also with those who were injured and their families, and the assurance of our prayers in the weeks to come.

“May all who have been touched in any way by the tragedy know the presence of the God of all comfort very close to them.”

The RC Bishop of Raphoe, the Rt Revd Alan McGuckian, said in a statement on Saturday that “God always walks with us, in light and in darkness, so let us embrace the power of prayer in this time of need and He will be there for us.”

In a letter to Bishop McGuckian, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin expressed the “spiritual closeness of Pope Francis to all who suffer as a result of this tragedy.”

“While entrusting the deceased to the merciful love of Almighty God, His Holiness implore divine blessings of consolation and healing upon the wounded, displaced and families grappling with the pain of loss,” the letter continues. .

The Taoiseach, Micheál Martin, said it was one of the “darkest days for Donegal and the whole country”, as he attended a vigil mass in Creeslough on Saturday evening, along with other political figures on both sides of the border.

On Sunday, Irish weather reported that investigators were keeping an “open mind” about the cause of the explosion, but it was “strongly suspected” to have been caused by a gas leak.

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