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Dublin Live
John Hand

Creeslough victim Jessica Gallagher described as 'jewel' of her family as hundreds turn out for funeral

A grieving community cannot take the "pain" away from the family of a young woman who lost her life in an explosion last week but a priest told her funeral mass today: "We want to walk with you."

Fashion designer Jessica Gallagher - who lost her life in the blast in Creeslough, Donegal on Friday - was the first of the 10 victims to be laid to rest.

Hundreds turned out to support her devastated relatives at St Michael's Church in the small village this morning.

Read more: Parents of Creeslough victim Leona Harper reveal digger driver refused to stop until her body was found

Priest Fr John Joe Duffy speaks to the media before the funeral mass for Jessica Gallagher, 24, at St Michael's Church, Creeslough (PA Wire/PA Images)

As Jessica's weaved coffin was driven up the main street beforehand, locals flanked each side of the road, many bowing their heads in silence.

Fr John Joe Duffy told the funeral mass that Jessica "radiated a warm and positive feeling" to everyone she had met in life.

The priest explained that she was the "jewel" of her family and was the one who "lit up the room".

Addressing the family, Fr John Joe said: "We would love to be able to put in our hands to your hearts and take away that grief and that pain that you are suffering this morning.

The coffin of Jessica Gallagher, 24, is carried into St Michael's Church, Creeslough, for her funeral mass (PA Wire/PA Images)

"But to even think of that would not be a sensible thing to do. Because in that void, in that grief, there you hold in your hearts Jessica."
He added: "While we cannot take that pain away for you, we want to walk with you.

"We cannot feel your pain but we will walk with you in that pain because to even say that we feel that pain would not be right or not be fair to you, but we walk in that pain.

"The greater someone is loved, the greater that pain and that pain is so immense, and Jessica will forever remain in your heart, but she will also be with you, she will remain with you."

Read more: GoFundMe page raises over €250,000 for Creeslough families

Jessica's first piece of commissioned work was brought up to the altar at the beginning of the mass.

The young woman was due to begin a new job as a fashion designer on Monday of this week.

The coffin of Jessica Gallagher, 24, leaves St Michael's Church, Creeslough, after her funeral mass. Jessica died following an explosion at Applegreen service station in the village of Creeslough in Co Donegal on Friday. Picture date: Tuesday October 11, 2022 (PA Wire/PA Images)

Fr John Joe said: "We are experiencing, you the family, are experiencing that most difficult challenge of all - the pain and hardship of having to say goodbye to Jessica today.

"That pain and hardship that other families are experiencing and I know that other families have been with you that have lost a loved one and those who have a loved one in hospital at this time.

"That pain has been felt in our parish and in our neighbouring parishes when the pathway in which Jessica and others were travelling through life was so abruptly ended by this tragic accident.

Read more: 'Shellshocked' Ryan Tubridy pays emotional tribute to Creeslough victims

"I wish I as a priest could explain that more fully in a way that words could explain it, but we do not have words to explain it, for words would make no sense or couldn't give it sense.

"I am part of you, part of this community, and it is together that we will make the journey and travel that journey going forward, supporting each other as so many people have been doing.

"Our entire community is hurting. Our hearts are heavy, but our spirits are strong."

Jessica Gallagher, 23, reportedly lived in a flat above the petrol station (Facebook)

Jessica was buried following the mass in Doe Cemetery.

Jessica died after she had been visiting her boyfriend, who is in critical care in St James' Hospital in Dublin, in an apartment on Friday above the Applegreen service station when the explosion occurred.

She graduated with an Honours degree in Fashion Design and Marketing from The International Fashion Academy in Paris.

She also studied in a Fashion Design College in Shanghai before she recently got the position as a Fashion Designer in Belfast.

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