Blast probe | 

Gardaí and explosion experts to examine previous power and gas works at Creeslough site

A gas leak remains the most likely cause of the blast, investigators believe, but they are trying to establish if a mobile gas source could have been on site apart from any static supply system.

Gardaí and blast analyst specialists continue their investigation at the Applegreen petrol station in Creeslough, Co Donegal. Photo: Steve Humphreys

A piper plays as the hearse carrying Martin McGill, (49), arrives at St Michael's Church, Creeslough, for his funeral mass. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire© PA

Family attend the funeral at St Michael's Church of Martin McGill, who died in the Creeslough blast last week. Photo: Steve Humphreys

The funeral of Jessica Gallagher at St Michael's Church, Creeslough, Co Donegal. Photo: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images© Getty Images

Conor FeehanIndependent.ie

An examination of the recent history of any works carried out by contractors at the apartments and filling station that were torn apart by an explosion which killed 10 people is being conducted as part of the Garda investigation into the blast at Creeslough.

Contractors are obliged to register such works with regulatory bodies for their industries and professions, and a list of any work or subsequent inspections is to be compiled to establish the nature of those works and the status of the latest safety certificates issued.

A source has said such investigations will help build a picture of the nature of any gas and electricity systems in the buildings prior to the explosion last Friday afternoon in the Co Donegal village.

“It would be routine in an investigation like this to examine the records for works carried out in the past, such as boiler servicing or any repairs or other works carried out by registered contractors,” the source said.

It is also understood that an international team of blast analysis experts have begun to assess information supplied to them in the hope of establishing the seat and possible cause of the explosion

A gas leak remains the most likely cause of the blast, investigators believe, but they are trying to establish if a mobile gas source could have been on site apart from any static supply system.

Investigators have visited the site of the filling station and apartments this week and are using telescopic cherry-picker platforms to help them examine the damage to the building.

The site has now been cordoned off by a large hoarding.

The first of the funerals of the 10 victims took place yesterday.

Jessica Gallagher was yesterday remembered as a young woman of strength, determination, hard work, warmth, and affection, and a person who had Donegal in her heart.

The funeral of Jessica Gallagher at St Michael's Church, Creeslough, Co Donegal. Photo: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images© Getty Images

Hundreds of members of the community of Creeslough lined the main street as the wicker coffin bearing the remains of the 24-year-old fashion designer was driven slowly through the town to St Michael’s Church.

The church was filled to capacity, and many of the mourners had to remain outside as Fr John Joe Duffy told Jessica’s family how the community wished it could take away their grief.

In his homily, Fr Duffy said everyone who knew Jessica knew her radiant smile, which would light up a room with the infectious warmth that flowed from her.

“Life is a great journey, one which we travel on our own in our own way. Our journey into life leaves a positive afterglow on so many,” he said.

"Jessica radiated a warm and positive feeling on those who knew her best.”

A garda (right) salutes as the hearse carrying Jessica Gallagher, 24, arrives at St Michael's Church, Creeslough, for her funeral mass. Photo credit: Liam McBurney/PA Wire© PA

“We journey through life on a pathway that we neither design nor control. Yes, we can shape the path somewhat with our decisions and choices in life. But the final direction of life is beyond our control. Life is fragile.”

Fr Duffy told how Jessica had never had the faintest problem expressing herself, and how someone said this week that she didn’t have a switch-off button.

He said she made many friends on her travels to India, Brazil, Indonesia, Australia, and the United States, and that her huge confidence was the reason she could easily work in hospitality, sports and fashion.

“She knew the success she was already building depended on hard work and determination. She took herself off to Paris to study fashion. And of course, she came to note in Paris,” he said.

"And then she was given a place because of her exceptional talent to go on to study further in Shanghai. It was indeed only the start of greater things to come.

“She used Donegal tweed in her designs, which helped her to get her to Paris. And that always remained a feature of her design. Donegal was in her heart.”

He said she was strong in every way possible – in her own opinions, her self-belief, her determination, and her confidence.

Not long after her remains were laid to rest in the nearby hillside Doe cemetery, the community of Creeslough gathered again at St Michael’s Church, this time for the funeral of local man Martin McGill (49).

Fr Duffy told mourners that Martin will be remembered as a carer, not only for his mother Mary but for anyone in the town who needed help.

A piper plays as the hearse carrying Martin McGill, (49), arrives at St Michael's Church, Creeslough, for his funeral mass. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire© PA

He said the chances of Martin not being caught-up in the explosion were probably against the odds because he was in and out of the shop at the filling station five times a day or more, doing errands for people in the community.

Martin was remembered also a man who loved the Celtic football club, and how he would be proud the club made a generous donation to a Creeslough tragedy fund and wore black arm bands in honour of him and the nine other victims in their game with RB Leipzig last night.

Martin had been caring for his mother, especially since his father Joe died in February – a loss that mourners were told hit the McGill family hard.

Family attend the funeral at St Michael's Church of Martin McGill, who died in the Creeslough blast last week. Photo: Steve Humphreys

President Michael D Higgins was represented by ADC Lt Colonel Stephen Howard, while Taoiseach Micheál Martin was represented by ADC Commandant Claire Mortimer.

Local TDs Pearse Doherty and Joe McHugh, Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue, and Sinn Féin Vice-President and First Minister Designate Michelle O’Neill were also in attendance.

Today the funerals will continue, first with that of James O’Flaherty (48) in Derrybeg, half an hour from Creeslough, and on the more western coast of Donegal.

James had built a home in recent years with his wife Tracey and their young son after he travelled from Australia to live in Ireland.

Then, again in St Michael’s Church in Creeslough, there will be the funerals of Catherine O’Donnell (39) and her son James Monaghan (13) from Kilmacrennan near Letterkenny, and originally from Drimnaraw which is 10 minutes from Creeslough.

Tomorrow will bring the funeral of Leona Harper (14) from Letterkenny, who was in the shop buying ice cream with a friend when the blast happened.

Her funeral will be in St Mary’s Church in Ramelton.

Her remains were brought to her family home yesterday evening.

There will also be the funeral in Creeslough’s St Michael’s Church of shop worker Martina Martin (49), who lived near the town.


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