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Funeral of father and five-year-old daughter, Robert and Shauna Garwe, killed in Creeslough blast

Robert Garwe had taken his daughter Shauna to the shop to buy a birthday cake for her mother.

Robert Garwe, 50, died alongside his daughter Shauna Flanagan Garwe, five (Handout/PA)

The final funeral for victims of the Creeslough servicestation was held today.

President of Ireland Michael D Higgins was among the mourners at the funeral service for the youngest of the 10 victims of the blast, five-year-old Shauna Flanagan Garwe, and her father Robert Garwe at St Michael’s Church.

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

Five-year-old Shauna Flanagan Garwe

Mourners at Friday’s funeral for the oldest victim, Hugh Kelly, heard he had taken Mr Garwe and Shauna to the service station shop to buy a birthday cake for the youngster’s mother.

Mr Garwe, 50, originally from Zimbabwe, worked in construction and could often be seen travelling around the village on his scooter.

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, while a funeral Mass for Catherine O’Donnell, 39, and her 13-year-old son James Monaghan took place on Wednesday afternoon.

A service for Sydney native James O’Flaherty, 48, was held on Wednesday in Derrybeg.

The funeral of shop worker and mother-of-four Martina Martin, 49, took place in Creeslough on Thursday morning and a service for 14-year-old Leona Harper was held at St Mary’s Church in Ramelton later that day.

Parish priest Father John Joe Duffy said the community is still in shock.

Family and mourners arrive at St Michael’s Church, in Creeslough, alongside the hearse (Niall Carson/PA)

“There is still that pall of silence, that grieving and mourning, that heartbreak visible to others who enter into the homes to try and offer consolation and comfort,” he said.

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He urged people affected by the tragedy to contact counselling services made available to them – saying he intends to use them.

“We need help, we need the continued embrace of this country and beyond it, and prayers, and also very much so the professional supports that are being made so available to us, and thank all who are involved in that,” he said.

Mr Higgins has been attending the funerals of the victims since Wednesday and meeting the families of those affected.

The Taoiseach’s aide-de-camp Commandant Claire Mortimer, and Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue, have also been attending funerals.


“There is still that pall of silence, that grieving and mourning, that heartbreak visible to others.”


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

As well as the 10 killed in the blast, eight others were hurt.

Seven have been receiving treatment in Letterkenny University Hospital, while a man in his 20s remains in a critical condition in St James’s Hospital, Dublin.

Two hearses bearing the coffins of Robert Garwe and Shauna Flanagan arrived at St Michael’s Church side by side.

The child’s small coffin was carried into the church first, followed by her father’s ahead of their requiem Mass.

A picture of five-year-old Shauna Flanagan Garwe at a vigil at Market Square, Letterkenny (Liam McBurney/PA)

There were a number of photographs of Shauna and flowers in front of the altar in the church, which bore 10 candles – one for each of the victims of the tragedy.

Father John Joe Duffy began by welcoming the congregation.

Father 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, including some from Zimbabwe.


“Side-by-side here, we pray that they are side-by-side in heaven.”


Symbols representing different aspects of Mr Garwe’s 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.

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

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

He described a “very tough week” since the tragedy claimed 10 lives, as family and friends of the other victims attended the funeral.

“The heartbreak is so visible in our eyes, the eyes of people emanating,” he told mourners.

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

Father Duffy described Robert and his daughter side-by-side, “as they were side-by-side in the shop…I’m sure in that split second just wanting to help protect his beautiful daughter so very much”.

He added: “Side-by-side here, we pray that they are side-by-side in heaven.

He described Shauna as someone who “loved to entertain” and read from a tribute left to her.

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

“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 her 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.”

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

“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.”

Robert, or Bob, was remembered as being proud of his Zimbabwean roots, and being proud of his children.

Father 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.”

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