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11th Oct 2022

Youngest victim of Creeslough explosion found with dad’s arms wrapped around her

Steve Hopkins

Shauna’s mother is said to be taking comfort in the fact her partner was found holding the youngster

The youngest victim of the Creeslough petrol station explosion was reportedly found with her dad’s arms around her when emergency workers came across their bodies, it has been revealed.

Shauna Flanagan Garwe, five, and her father Robert Garwe, 50, lost their lives in the blast at the Applegreen filling station in Creeslough, Donegal around 3pm last Friday.

Ten people, including Shauna and her dad, were killed in the incident that authorities said appeared to be a “tragic accident”.

According to reports, Shauna, who had only just begun primary school, had gone to get her mum, Aine, a birthday cake, along with her dad.

Shauna’s uncle Killian Flanagan told how his sister, Aine, has been “incredibly strong” in the wake of losing her only child and partner, the Irish Mirror reported, and was taking comfort and strength from the community support.

The other “bit of comfort”, Flanagan explained, Aine was taking was the fact that “emergency workers told her that Shauna and Robert were found with Robert’s arms around Shauna”.

“She was wrapped in her daddy’s care and her daddy’s embrace. And please god, that still remains and he’s keeping her safe wherever they are,” he is quoted as saying.

He added to ITV News that the incident was “devastating”, but said his sister was “strong”.

“A lesser person wouldn’t be able to do what she’s doing at the moment. She knows that Shauna is in her daddy’s arms.”

Flanagan described Shauna as “the most charming and beautiful girl”.

“You can picture the most mischievous, most lovable five-year-old, think of that and multiply it by two – that was Shauna.”

Flanagan explained that Shauna had been unwell the day of her mum’s birthday last week, so they decided to celebrate it on the Friday of the explosion.

“And she plagued and plagued and plagued Robert to take her to the shop to buy a birthday cake for her mum so they could get home and blow out the candles. And he did.

“And unfortunately, they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

No funeral arrangements have yet been announced for the father and daughter.

The ten people to lose their lives in the tragedy were: Shauna Flanagan Garwe, Robert Garwe, Leonar Harper, Hugh Kelly, Jessica Gallagher, Martin McGill, James O’Flaherty, Martina Martin, Catherin O’Donnell, James Monaghan.”

Candle-lit vigils are taking place across Donegal and books of condolence have been opened in towns and cities across Ireland.

A GoFundMe for the grieving relatives of those involved surpassed €365,000 by 6pm on Tuesday.

It was started by Gerard McFadden, from Brisbane, Australia.

He wrote: “I woke up this morning to the devastating news that an explosion in Applegreen garage has claimed multiple fatalities and injury’s in my home town of Creeslough Co Donegal Ireland.

“I would like to raise as much funds as possible to help the families of the deceased and injured through these challenging times ahead. Thoughts and prayers are with the families and all the community. Rest In Peace to the lives lost.”

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