'Radiant beacon of light': Funerals held for father and daughter who died in Creeslough tragedy

'Radiant beacon of light': Funerals held for father and daughter who died in Creeslough tragedy

THE FINAL funerals of those killed in the Creeslough tragedy have taken place in Donegal.

On Saturday, mourners at St Michael's Church heard how Robert Garwe and his five-year-old daughter Shauna Flanagan Garwe had been shopping for a birthday cake for the girl's mother when the explosion occurred.

Parish Priest Father John Joe Duffy said he had no doubt that at the time Mr Garwe wanted to "help and protect his beautiful daughter so very much".

The funerals were the last to be held for the victims of the Creeslough tragedy (Image: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

Those in attendance at the church included President Michael D. Higgins and members of Mr Garwe's family, who had travelled from Zimbabwe for the funeral.

In front of the altar bearing 10 red candles for each of the Creeslough victims, Shauna's small wicker casket lay next to that of her father.

They were surrounded by photographs and symbols of their lives, including Shauna's treasured scooter and her stuffed toys and a hat worn by her father.

Mourners attend the funeral of the father and daughter (Image: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

Father Duffy told the church the pair were popular around town but that Shauna was adored by the older people in the estate where they lived, who treated her like a granddaughter.

"She was a radiant beacon of light, of happiness and joy," he said.

"She had amazing ingenuity for a child and I have no doubt that she could have achieved anything that she could have set her mind to in life.

"Dear friends, all of that does not take away from how difficult it is to comprehend the loss of a young man and a beautiful five-year-old child.

"How it is such a struggle to come to terms with such a loss."

Fr Duffy also told of how Shauna was popular with the staff of her former preschool and at her new school Scoil Mhuire, where she had made a big impression in her short time there.

"She was so caring and if she saw a classmate upset or in need of help, she was sure to run over to them, give them a hug and help them," he said.

Shauna Flanagan Garwe was described as 'a truly wonderful girl' (Image: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

“She loved her style — she was a girl with beautiful shiny shoes and fantastic coats.

"She had a spare pencil case for school which had her mirror and other bits to make sure she looked her best — she got that trait from Dublin and Zimbabwe!

"She was just so beautiful, a truly wonderful girl who left a lasting impression on all she met."

Week of mourning

Ten people died in the explosion at an Applegreen service station on Friday, August 7.

Jessica Gallagher, 24 and Martin McGill, 49, were laid to rest on Tuesday after their funerals at St Michael's.

The funerals of 39-year-old Catherine O'Donnell and her son James Monaghan, 13, were also held in Creeslough on Wednesday, the same day James O'Flaherty, 48, was laid to rest at St Mary's Church in Derrybeg.

On Thursday, 14-year-old Leona Harper was laid to rest at St Mary's Church in Ramelton, while the funeral Mass of Martina Martin, 49, took place at St Michael's.

Friday saw the funeral of Hugh Kelly, 59, at St Michael's.

Clockwise, from top left: Leona Harper, 14; Jessica Gallagher, 24; Catherine O'Donnell, 39, and her son, James Monaghan, 13; James O'Flaherty, 48; Martin McGill, 49; Robert Garwe, 50 and his daughter. Shauna Flanagan Garwe, 5; Hugh Kelly, 59; and Martina Martin, 40 (Images: An Garda Siochána)