Archbishop Eamon Martin laments the ‘empty chair, empty bed, empty desk at school’ as he visits Creeslough

The people of Creeslough will feel the loss of their loved ones, neighbors and friends most painfully today, Archbishop Eamon Martin said, as the community prepares to bury the 10 victims of the tragic explosion.

rchbishop Martin said that the grim reality and devastation of the explosion that cut 10 short lives is now being felt viscerally by a tight-knit community.

“Looking at the building, there is just an empty shell where once stood a thriving business. I think that emptiness in the community is probably being felt most today by the families. The empty chair, the empty bed, the empty desk at school.

“At a time like this you wonder how will I ever get through it. It seems to me that you get through it moment by moment and day by day. The people here don’t know how they are going to cope tomorrow but they’re coping today or just getting through this afternoon,” Archbishop Martin told Independent.ie at the blast site in Creeslough, yesterday.

Archbishop Martin said he felt compelled to go to Creeslough to pay thanks to the brave emergency services and civilians that rushed to help following the explosion.

“There were people pulling out rubble with their bare hands, people with machinery trying to dig and then those co-ordinating this. There were gardaí, medical services and then behind that, there was an amazing comfort blanket of people who were looking after each other and caring for each other. Just being there for each other.

“They had a horrific task of first trying to rescue those who were inside and then, unfortunately, recover bodies.

“It was obvious looking in from the outside that there was just a fierce grief that had shattered this community. I felt I needed to come down from Armagh to bring my thoughts, prayers and presence to the people here.

“I met with Fr John Joe, Bishop Alan McGuckian and the first responders to try to be of some spiritual comfort,” Archbishop Martin said.

While the community is now making preparations for funerals all week in the locality, Archbishop Martin commended the care and love being shown by all in Donegal and further afield.

“I get a sense of a very strong community that has dug deep down into their psyche and their goodness to be there and to love each other. It’s a glimpse of love, faith and hope.

“Today is a day they’re [the families] are looking for their own privacy but I went to the chapel and prayed beside each of the 10 candles laid out for them and through that extended my prayers and good wishes to them. You can’t even imagine what they’re going through,” Archbishop Martin said.

The Indo Daily – Creeslough Tragedy: a community aches and a nation grieves

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