08 November 2022, The Tablet

Creeslough priest says healing is 'multi-faceted'

Monday saw the first month's mind Mass for a victim of the explosion in the village on 7 October which killed ten.

Creeslough priest says healing is 'multi-faceted'

Fr John Joe Duffy lights ten candles in St Michael's Church, Creeslough for the victims of the 7 October explosion.
PA Images/Alamy

The parish priest of the Donegal village devastated by an explosion last month has encouraged his community to seek counselling.

Speaking to BBC Northern Ireland’s Good Morning Ulster, Fr John Joe Duffy, parish priest of Creeslough where ten people were killed in an explosion on 7 October, said that he had received professional counselling and that it was part of a “multi-faceted” healing process.

“The numbness and shock is beginning to ease and what’s becoming all the apparent is the reality of what we have faced and are facing,” said Fr Duffy.

“It’s very important to have professional counselling but also the other types of counselling. People are meeting through sport and through the youth group here in the community and meeting in various ways here in the church.”

St Joseph’s Church in Creeslough held the first month’s mind Mass on Monday for a victim of the explosion, the 49-year-old Martina Martin, with several more to be held this week.

“After next week we will have a number of speakers after Masses and some music and singing,” added Fr Duffy.

"It has to be a joined-up approach going forward and healing in different ways and different mediums."

Four men, three women, two teenagers and a five-year-old died in the explosion at the Applegreen service station. The village’s GP, Dr Paul Stewart, told Good Morning Ulster: “It was so random. Any of us could have been in the shop – many of us were in the shop, that day or the day before.”

“Our community’s like a big family,” said Fr Duffy, “so it’s like losing people from your own family, and that community was extended out to others.”  This included “all the people who have suffered bereavement, all the people who were injured, all the people who responded to us”.

He expressed particular gratitude to the emergency services who came to Creeslough’s aid.

“Community is a gathering of people helping one another,” he said.

The road past the destroyed petrol station remains closed. An Garda Síochána have opened 500 lines of inquiry into the investigation, and have extended the preservation of the scene until the 27 November. Police had previously said that the explosion seemed to have been a tragic accident.

Fr Duffy said: “What we pray for and our hope for everyone concerned is that there be a conclusion to the investigation that may give some answers as to how and why this happened, and if there is something that can be learned from that to prevent something like this ever happening again to this community or in any other community.”

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