The Zimbabwean community in Ireland has been plunged into mourning following the death of a father and daughter in an explosion that killed many people at a petrol station, police confirmed on Saturday.

Mr Robert Garwe (50) and daughter Shauna Flanagan Garwe (5) died on the spot as they were in a shop buying a birthday cake for the girl’s mother. 

Garwe is originally from Hwedza, Mashonaland East province. 

The blast occurred at around 3.20pm on Friday in the County Donegal village of Creeslough, Ireland’s police, the Garda Siochana, said in a media conference Saturday. 

Garwe’s brother-in-law, his wife’s brother, has told how the awfulness of “pure human tragedy” has torn the community apart.

Shauna, who was only five years old, was the youngest of the 10 victims. Her mother Áine has now lost her partner and only child.

Áine’s brother Killian told how the family had decided to postpone celebrations for Áine’s birthday last week until the weekend.

That is how Shauna and Robert came to be in the service station on Friday afternoon, to buy a cake.

“It was Áine’s birthday during the week, and they decided to celebrate it at the weekend, and Shauna was excited about going down to buy a birthday cake for her mum, and this happened. It was as random as that,” Killian told the Irish Independent.

“She was a great little character. Everyone loved her.

“What more can you say? She was just five years of age.

“What more do you say to a five-year-old’s death? It’s traumatic.”


Killian Flanagan said word of the explosion spread very quickly around the town on Friday afternoon.

Then he described the awful waiting game relatives had to endure to find out if their loved ones were trapped in the rubble.


“There’s no other way to tell the story other than it’s a pure human tragedy,” he said.


He added that the randomness of the tragedy is what has triggered the consciousness of the nation.

“There was nobody that had to be there at that point. ‘I’ll go in and buy a coffee’ or ‘I’ll go in and buy a card’. It could have been an hour later or two hours later. It was just awful, tragic timing, and this town will never recover from this, Áine is numb. It’s a birthday she’ll never forget.” he added.


Those who died in the explosion were formally named by An Garda Síochána yesterday. They included three children.

As well as Robert Garwe (50) and little Shauna, James O’Flaherty (48), Jessica Gallagher (24), Martin McGill (49), Catherine O’Donnell (39) and her son James Monaghan (13), Hugh Kelly (59), Martina Martin (49) and Leona Harper (14) also died in the blast.

A man in his 20s remained in a critical condition at St James’s Hospital in Dublin last night.