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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Graeme Murray

Village mourns petrol station explosion victim, 5, killed buying birthday cake with dad

The youngest victim of the Creeslough petrol station explosion has been laid to rest by her dad's side a week after they were both killed in the tragedy.

Shauna Flanagan Garwe, 5, was among 10 victims of the service station explosion in Co Donegal last week.

Her father Robert Garwe had taken her to buy a birthday cake for her mother when they were caught in the blast on October 7.

She has today been laid to rest in a joint funeral service with her father as locals say they were "always together".

Father John Joe Duffy described Shauna and her father as “side by side in the shop”, adding that Mr Garwe “in that split second just wanting to help protect his beautiful daughter so very much”.

Robert Garwe's partner Aine pushes her daughter's coffin from St Michael's Church, in Creeslough, after the funeral od Robert Garwe and their five-year-old daughter Shauna Flanagan Garwe (PA)

A small brown wicker casket sat alongside an adult’s wooden coffin at their funeral in St Michael’s Church in Creeslough on Saturday morning.

Fr Duffy told mourners: “Side by side here, we pray that they are side by side in heaven”.

Irish president Michael D Higgins was among the mourners.

Residents of the rural Co Donegal village lined its main street once again for the sixth funeral service in St Michael’s for victims of the tragedy in five days.

The coffins of Robert Garwe and his five-year-old daughter Shauna Flanagan Garwe are carried into St Michael's Church, in Creeslough, for their funeral mass (PA)

Fr Duffy offered their “most sincere sympathies” to Mr Garwe’s partner Aine “on the death of your partner and your beautiful daughter”, and welcomed family members who had travelled to the service, including some from Zimbabwe.

Symbols representing different aspects of Mr Garwe and Shauna’s lives were present, including a scooter “which was very much part and parcel of their lives”.

“I’m not sure who could go fastest on the scooter, but I know on feet, Shauna could outrun her dad, be it at the school gate, be it on the road where I so often saw them and met them, or be it in the shop where she helped to stack the shelves with the girls,” Fr Duffy told mourners.

Family and mourners arrive at St Michael's Church, in Creeslough, Co Donegal (PA)

There was also a catapult for “hunting together” and Shauna’s favourite unicorn teddy placed in the Creeslough church.

Fr Duffy said people are “feeling the pain of loss in a very profound and deep way” in Creeslough.

He described a “very tough week” adding: “The heartbreak is so visible in our eyes, the eyes of people emanating.

“We are gathered here this morning, once again, to say farewell to a father and his beloved and much loving beautiful little girl.”

Five-year-old Shauna Flanagan Garwe was the youngest victim (PA)

Mr Garwe was remembered as being proud of his Zimbabwean roots and of his children.

Fr Duffy said: “I often talked with Bob… he just had that friendliness, keeping fit and keeping well was so important to him, and he had that beautiful love for little Shauna.”

He described Shauna as someone who “loved to entertain” as he read from a poem written in tribute to her.

“Shauna could always be heard with a giggle, and when sitting down she sure did like to wiggle,” the priest said.

Garda at the scene of an explosion at Applegreen service station in Creeslough, Co Donegal, where ten people died (PA)

“On her pink scooter she would come to the gate, with Kylo in tow, her little dog mate. So chatty and bubbly she just loved to play and have fun with her friends each and every day.”

The tribute went on to describe the child’s love of art and animals, adding: “A great vet she would have been. She was a lovable character with a mischievous way, and we will miss her so much, forever and a day.”

Fr Duffy added: “A truly wonderful girl who left a lasting impression on all she met.

President Michael D Higgins outside St Michael's Church, in Creeslough, Co Donegal (PA)

“She, together with her dad, were very well known in this community, together with her dad and mum, such a familiar sight up and down the road, they were always together, that little unit.”

Mourners at the funeral on Friday of the oldest victim of the blast, Hugh Kelly, heard he had brought Mr Garwe and Shauna to the service station shop to buy a birthday cake for her mother.

Mr Garwe worked in construction and could often be seen travelling around the village on his scooter.

Family members follow the two hearses at the funerals of Robert Garwe, aged 50 and his daughter Shauna Flanagan Garwe (Getty Images)

Shauna started at Scoil Mhuire national school in Creeslough just weeks ago.

The funerals of fashion student Jessica Gallagher, 24, and Celtic supporter Martin McGill, 49, were held in Creeslough on Tuesday.

A funeral Mass for Catherine O’Donnell, 39, and her 13-year-old son James Monaghan was held on Wednesday afternoon and James O’Flaherty, 48, service was held on Wednesday in Derrybeg.

Shop worker and 49-year-old mother-of-four Martina Martin's funeral was held in Creeslough on Thursday morning.

Mourners gather for the service at St Michael's Church in Creeslough (PA)

And a service for 14-year-old Leona Harper held at St Mary’s Church in Ramelton later that day.

Ireland’s police force An Garda Siochana continues to investigate the cause of the blast, which is being treated as an accident.

Eight people were injured, with seven receiving treatment in Letterkenny hospital and one man aged in his 20s in a critical condition in St James’s Hospital, Dublin.

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