The new Creeslough Community Links Hub was officially opened recently by Minister Joe O’Brien in the Co Donegal community that was struck by tragedy.

On October 7 2022, ten people were killed and eight were hospitalised following a suspected gas explosion at an apartment behind an Applegreen petrol station in Creeslough.

Last week, that community came together to remember the victims, and also to look to the future with the opening of their new community hub.

The once derelict building in the village has been transformed into the Creeslough Community Links Hub, which brings together residents, businesses, and organisations to share resources, ideas, and to support the Creeslough community.

In a statement on social media, Creeslough Community Association thanked all involved in the project and expressed its “heartfelt thanks to Joe O’Brien and his team from the Department of Rural and Community Development for coming to Creeslough last Friday to officially open the Creeslough Community Links Hub”.

“In November of 2022, Minister O’Brien visited Creeslough, listened to our community and committed to help us rebuild. The Creeslough Community Links Hub is a result of that commitment and we are forever grateful. The opening of this facility is another step on our journey of healing.”

– The community of Creeslough, Co Donegal, came together on January 12 to officially open their new community hub. Photo: Creeslough Community Association Facebook

“This building has brought a positive vibe to the Main Street of Creeslough and our aim is to promote community engagement by providing a hub of information and support. To promote skills and development through programmes and workshops, to continue with small key community development, and to enhance the overall community wellbeing by addressing local needs.”

Speaking at the Creeslough Community Links Hub, Minister O’Brien said: “You have transformed a derelict building into a place of shared aspirations and collective efforts. I have no doubt this community hub will continue to serve as a sanctuary for healing, a hub for support, and a symbol of your collective strength for many years to come.

“I am confident that the community spirit here in Creeslough will allow you to continue your journey, all the time remembering those families that have lost ten precious loved ones and the injured, whose lives were altered forever.”

In March 2023, the Community Together Initiative (CTI) was awarded almost €500,000 by the Department of Rural and Community Development to support their ongoing work. The CTI team works with and consults with the wider Creeslough community, supporting the recovery and sustained growth of the Creeslough community.

– Minister Joe O’Brien speaking at the official opening of the Creeslough Community Links Hub in Co Donegal. Photo: Creeslough Community Association Facebook

The Minister concluded: “The Creeslough Together Initiative team, made up of local people, informed by the community and community organisations, are gently leading the way for the people of Creeslough and all those affected by the tragedy.”

“It is an honour for me to stand before you as we come together here in this Community Hub, to remember those families who have lost loved ones and to those families who lives were changed forever through injury. I have witnessed first-hand, the spirit, the resilience and the unity that exists in your community, I hope together you can rebuild a community that thrives on love, compassion and shared memories.”