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Funeral to take place today for Creeslough victim ‘gentleman’ Hugh Kelly (59)

Hugh Kelly has been described as a “cheery man” and a “gentleman”.

Hugh Kelly

Hugh Kelly, 59, one of the ten victims of the explosion at Applegreen service station in the village of Creeslough in Co Donegal on Friday. Picture date: Sunday October 9, 2022.© PA

Family and mourners arrive at St Michael’s Church in Creeslough, Co Donegal for Martina Martin’s funeral. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire© PA

Paul HylandIndependent.ie

The funeral will take place today for Creeslough victim Hugh Kelly.

Mr Kelly (59) was the oldest person to die in tragedy, which struck the Donegal town last Friday afternoon.

His funeral will take place at 11am this morning, in St Michael’s Church, Creeslough, followed by a burial in Doe Cemetery.

Hugh Kelly has been described as a “cheery man” and a “gentleman”.

The popular local worked in construction and farming.

"Deeply regretted and sadly missed by his partner Linda, her daughter Mary and grandchild, Rosey, his sisters Agnes Gallagher and Tessie Friel and brother Frank and all his family and friends. Predeceased by his parents, Josie and Sally and sister Susan Gallagher,” the funeral notice reads.

Mr Kelly’s funeral is the eighth to take place this week, in the wake of the devastating explosion which claimed 10 lives.

Yesterday, the funerals of Martina Martin (49) and Leona Harper (14) were held.

Speaking at Ms Martin’s funeral, Creeslough parish priest, Father John Joe Duffy, said she was a big part of the local community and “a natural, beautiful, lovely person”.

“Tina was one of those naturally friendly people that once you met her in life, she became your friend,” said Father Duffy.

Meanwhile, teenage sport enthusiast Leona Harper’s older brother Anthony told mourners about how his parents were told they would not be able to have any more children.

“But seven years later, something unexpected happened. Leona arrived, hence the little miracle,” he said.

Family and mourners arrive at St Michael’s Church in Creeslough, Co Donegal for Martina Martin’s funeral. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire© PA

“You, her mum and dad, talk of your daughter as a gem. It is often a line we use about somebody we love, but given how unexpected and welcome Leona was, your daughter was indeed a precious gem.

“Think of gems. Gems shine, gems sparkle, gems attract. Leona shone brightly and beautifully throughout her short life. She sparkled with energy and fun and attracted so many friends to her circle.”

The funeral details have been announced for father and daughter Robert Garwe (50) and Shauna Flanagan Garwe (5), who also died in the tragedy.

A joint funeral mass will be held for them tomorrow morning at 11am, in St Michael’s Church, Creeslough, followed by a private cremation.

"Deeply missed by a heartbroken Áine, Taona, Gabriel, Darren, Tessa, Alex, Conrad and their extended families and many friends,” the funeral notice reads.

It is understood that Mr Garwe and Shauna had gone to the petrol station to buy a birthday cake for Shauna’s mother Áine, at the time of the explosion. Shauna was the tragedy’s youngest victim.

The primary school pupil has been described as a “delightful and energetic” little girl who loved to ask for a lollipop when visiting the local pharmacy with her parents.

Her uncle described her as “a great little character”, adding that “everyone loved her”.

Creeslough parish priest, Father John Joe Duffy said the whole community has been “strengthened” by the support from people across Ireland and further afield.

“I think we have been able to give strength to our community through the strength we have got from prayers around the world, the vigils and so on. Strength has permeated from those vigils, from the rosaries, masses, the messages of support from people all over this country; from people beyond this country,” he said.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Fr Duffy said he was “heartened” to hear messages from the England’s King Charles and UK Prime Minister Liz Truss, and he knows Pope Francis “is keeping us very much in his prayers”.

The cleric has been the chief celebrant at several funeral masses for the victims this week and he will once again lead the prayers at Hugh Kelly’s mass this morning.

President Higgins has been present at a number of the funerals and Fr Duffy described Mr Higgins as a “strength, a rock among us here”.

“The reality of it is, that we and the people of this community saw things or experienced things that nobody should ever have to experience in any community,” he said.

“While the body is fragile and weak, the human mind is even more fragile and what we need to go forward is we need that continued prayer, that continued practical support, we need lots of support going forward. The support we have been getting, we need that support going forward.”

He added: “I am taking the offer of counselling. The local doctor and health centre and others here have been urging me to do so, as have been my bishop and so many others including I was just talking with the President yesterday and he emphasised how important our counselling support is. Not that we need anyone to emphasise it, but everyone was doing it out of goodness and thank them for it.

“And I encourage everyone who experienced this tragedy to avail of support because this is an area where we are also surrounded by sea and on the shore, we see rocks and we see sand and we are certainly not rocks, we are at the sand. We need all the help we can get.”


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