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Thursday 30 March 2023 Dublin: 11°C
# Donegal
Funeral services for Creeslough explosion victims Martina Martin and Leona Harper take place
Ten people died in the tragedy in Creeslough on Friday. They ranged in age from five to 59.

LAST UPDATE | Oct 13th 2022, 7:40 PM

THE FUNERAL SERVICES for two victims of the explosion at the service station in Creeslough, Co Donegal last Friday took place today. 

The service for Martina Martin, aged 49, began at St Michael’s Church in Creeslough at 11am. It was followed by her cremation at Lakelands Crematorium at 5pm.

Martina was from the Woodlands area of Letterkenny and worked in the shop in the Applegreen service station.

The 49-year-old was a mother of four children. Her sons Sean and Neil were in attendance at a vigil in the Co Donegal village of Downings on Sunday night.

She is one of ten people who died in the tragedy in the town on Friday. They ranged in age from five to 59.

At her funeral today, Creeslough parish priest Fr John Joe Duffy told the congregation: “Martina was a beautiful person. Her beauty inside radiated in that kind of cheeky, mischievous smile which flowed out to you when you met her.”

Fr Duffy said that Martina’s friends described her as a “mother hen to the core”, and that her children described her as “the ultimate mammy bear”.

Her co-workers provided a guard of honour as her coffin was brought into the church.

Representatives of Mulroy College, which two of her children attend, were also part of the honour guard.

“Martina had an abundance of love,” Fr John Joe Duffy told the congregation.

“She stuck up for you through thick and thin, protected you and kept you safe and taught you right from wrong,” the priest said.

The service also heard that she was a “friendly face” who worked in the village’s main shop.

“She certainly had an influence on others of which was inspirational, working in our local shop which was a hub at the very heart of our community.

“Each time you would go there, you met that friendly face.”

Screenshot 2022-10-12 163401 Martina Martin

Father Duffy said that she was “in a very happy place” in the community.

“She loved Creeslough, she felt very much like home always in Creeslough, where your families originated from. She loved the people of this community, and each and every one of us who knew her very much loved her.

“If we were having a bad day, the quick wit would lift us up.

“If you picked up a bar of chocolate – somebody said to me, they remember fondly – and there was a bigger bar of chocolate available at the same price or a better bargain, she would say ‘You know you can get a bigger one?’ And that was Martina looking out for people.”

The service also heard that Martina was one of the frontline workers during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Fr Duffy said that the community of Creeslough was growing in strength each day to get through the hours and days ahead.

“Creeslough is a small village, but it is now more than just that. It is now a word for determination, for resolve and for togetherness and how important togetherness is,” he added.

“This tragedy has reignited within all of us, myself included, that each one of us are only as strong as the families we have around us, only as strong as the community that surrounds us.”

At the end of the service Fr Duffy urged people affected by the tragedy to contact local counselling services, which he said he intended to do himself.

Leona Harper

The funeral of Leona Harper began at 2pm this afternoon in St Mary’s Church in Ramelton.

14-year-old Leona lived in nearby Ramelton and studied at Mulroy College.

She had travelled to Creeslough for a sleepover at a friend’s house and is believed to have gone to the Applegreen shop to buy an ice cream.

3B3A5986-25A6-440D-B46C-7381653C0906 Leona Harper

Fr Michael Carney welcomed Leona’s family and loved ones to the funeral Mass this afternoon, in particularly her parents Donna and Hugh, her brothers Anthony and Jamie and her grandmother Mary and her extended family.

He also welcomed her friends from school in Scoil Mhuire and Mulroy College, her rugby teammates and all those who knew Leona through her hobbies and pursuits.

“The suddenness of Leona’s going has left you her family and all who knew and loved Leona shell-shocked and grief-stricken,” he said.

creeslough1 Brian Lawless / PA A Liverpool FC flag is flown as members of Letterkenny Rugby Club join mourners outside St Mary’s Church for the funeral Mass of Leona Harper Brian Lawless / PA / PA

Fr Carney said Leona was baptised and made her First Communion in Saint Mary’s Church and was confirmed three years ago in the same church as her funeral was taking place.

“Leona’s time on this Earth was short – too short,” Fr Carney said.

“But she lived life to the full, she has made her unique contribution, left her imprint and contributed to the lives of those she loved, lived and laughed with.”

He told mourners that Leona’s life journey had “reached its destination”.

“We pray through this Mass for Leona and for her eternal happiness,” he said. “And we remember the other nine victims of Friday’s tragedy and commend them to the mercy and compassion of God.”

He described Leona as a “little lady with a big heart who lived a full life”.

“Hugh and Donna talk of their daughter as their little miracle – and therein lies a story … when Anthony was born, Donna was told that there was no prospect of her conceiving  another child.  But seven years later something unexpected happened: Leona arrived, hence the little miracle.”

The funeral services for James O’Flaherty and Catherine O’Donnell and her son James Monaghan took place yesterday. The funerals for Jessica Gallagher and Martin McGill took place on Tuesday.

Hugh Kelly will be laid to rest tomorrow morning. 

Includes reporting by Press Association.

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