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Aussie dad among the 10 people killed in horror Ireland service station explosion that left three kids dead

  • Among 10 people killed in Irish petrol station blast is Aussie James O’Flaherty 

An Australian father is among 10 people, including three children, killed in a massive explosion at an Irish service station. 

James O’Flaherty, 48, from Sydney, has been confirmed as one of those who perished in the blast in County Donegal in Ireland’s northwest on Friday.

Four men, three women, two teenagers and a five-year-old girl died in the gas explosion at the Applegreen Service Station in Creeslough. 

The others victims have been identified as designer Jessica Gallagher, 24; Martin McGill, 49; Catherine O’Donnell, 39, and her 13-year-old son James; farmer Hugh Kelly, 59; shop worker Martina Martin, 49; Robert Garwe and five-year-old daughter Shauna; and talented rugby player Leona Harper, 14, 

The Garda Síochána – Ireland’s national police service – said on Monday a male in his 20s remains in a critical condition at St James Hospital in Dublin. 

A further seven casualties are receiving treatment at Letterkenny University Hospital and remain in stable condition.

Mr O’Flaherty was originally from Sydney but had relocated to Rineclevan, Dunfanaghy in Ireland with his wife Tracey and son Hamish.

His funeral will be held on Wednesday in Ireland. 

The blast flattened the service station, caused an adjacent two storey apartment building to collapse and blew the roof of a third building. 

Some witnesses reported the enormous blast sounded like a ‘bomb’. 

But Superintendent David Kelly told a press conference the information police currently have ‘is pointing towards a tragic accident’.

Speaking at the cordon around the blast site, Ireland’s premier Taoiseach Micheal Martin said there was ‘deep sadness’ in the village and a ‘terrible silence’ reflecting the enormity of what has happened.

‘The entire nation is mourning and deeply saddened,’ he said.

‘A young child in the shop and two teens, as well as men and women who were going about their lives as well.

‘It is a very close-knit community and our heart goes out to them.’

‘Talking to those on the front line and everyone involved, they were very moved by the extraordinary support they got from the community here almost immediately.’

A major incident was declared after a gas explosion at a petrol station in County Donegal on Friday afternoon (pictured)

A major incident was declared after a gas explosion at a petrol station in County Donegal on Friday afternoon (pictured) 

Nearby resident Bernard O’Doherty who knows all but one of the victims told national broadcaster RTE that he and others rushed to the scene and began clearing rubble with first responders.  

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‘Rubble had been blown across the forecourt as far as the road. There was everything from tin to blocks, floor slabs, contents from the shop just lying around the place,’ 

Creeslough, a village with a population of about 400, is about 50km from the border with Northern Ireland.

Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue said the scene of devastation resembled those from bombings during the decades of the Northern Ireland Conflict.

‘People are shocked and numbed… The scenes from the event are reminiscent of the images from The Troubles years ago, in terms of the scene on the ground and the damage and the debris,’ he said.

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