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Family of two Creeslough victims asks TG4 to postpone documentary logo 07/02/2023 Lauren Boland
The site of the explosion in Creeslough © PA The site of the explosion in Creeslough

THE FAMILY OF a father and daughter who were killed last year in the explosion at a Creeslough petrol station have asked TG4 to delay the airing of a documentary about the rescue mission until a garda investigation has concluded.

10 people were killed in the tragic incident at an Applegreen service station in the Donegal village last October.

Two of the victims were Robert Garwe and his five-year-old daughter Shauna Flanagan Garwe.

Áine Flanagan – Robert’s partner and Shauna’s mother – feels “dread” at the prospect of a TG4 documentary about the rescue response airing tomorrow, according to her brother Killian Flanagan who discussed the matter on RTÉ Radio One’s Liveline this afternoon.

He said they believe the documentary should not air until the garda investigation has been completed.

However, TG4 has responded to say that the programme does not include details about the victims beyond any information that was already made public directly after the tragedy.

The documentary will focus on the people who were involved in the rescue mission at the scene, the broadcaster outlined.

Speaking this afternoon, Killian Flanagan said the family only learned about the documentary last week.

“What we have now is a situation where Áine and others are being asked to look at a one-hour documentary, revisiting the worst chapter of their existence and seeing things for the first time, hearing things for the first time, and it’s not acceptable,” he told Liveline.

“Áine hasn’t slept a week since last Tuesday. She’s devastated at the prospect of what she’s going to see and hear tomorrow night.”

He suggested the broadcaster’s actions were “more akin, I think, to tabloids in the UK and the way that they treat victims’ families”.

“To say that Áine is living in dread of this is an understatement,” Killian said.

“This should not be the first representation of what happened.

“When the garda investigation is complete and answers are provided, and people can somehow start to process that, then maybe we can celebrate the work that was done by people – and there’s no question that there were unbelievable acts of heroism here – but to air that before the garda investigation is complete and to ask Áine and others to sit through and watch and revisit the worst chapter of their existence when they’re trying to move forward, not back, to me is just beyond comprehension.

“I really don’t understand why they would put the needs of sensationalism ahead of the needs of the victims’ families. It’s been made, why can’t it air in six months time?”

In a statement, TG4 said that the focus of the documentary is “to shine a light on the people of the area who assisted in the rescue at the scene of the explosion”.

“It contains interviews with some of those who risked their own lives while bringing others to safety. They speak compassionately and sensitively about the roles they played helping others in the face of great adversity,” the broadcaster said.

“The contributors wanted to express their gratitude at how an ordinary community came together at a time of great difficulty to try to assist their friends and neighbours.

“The programme shows the utmost respect for those who lost their lives. “The programme does not report anything about the victims other than what has already been reported publicly in the direct aftermath of the tragedy.

“The team who produced the programme (Clean Slate TV) includes the highly respected former BBC journalist Kevin Magee.”


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