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PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo
Fr John Joe Duffy.jpg
PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo
World News

Priest who conducted services following Co Donegal tragedy sought counselling to cope with grief

by Kelly Valencia

The priest, who officiated several funeral services following the tragedy at County Donegal, has revealed he sought counselling to help him process the trauma.

"I found help myself from counselling and it's something I encourage," Fr John Joe Duffy told BBC News NI. 

Last month, an explosion at a petrol station in the village of Creeslough killed ten people, including two teenagers and a five-year-old girl. 

Following the explosion, the Irish Health Service set up a service to support people affected by the tragedy. So far, it has been accessed 200 times. 

"Numbness and shock is beginning to ease and it's becoming all the more apparent the reality of what we have faced and are facing," Fr Duffy continued.

"It's very important to have professional counselling, but also there is other types of counselling as well."

He added: "People are meeting through sport, through the youth group here in the community and meeting in various ways here in the church." 

"It has to be a joined-up approach going forward and healing in different ways and different mediums."

Fr Duffy also said the community has taken great comfort in people's messages of support and prayers. 

"Thank you very much, thank you for the messages that have kept us going and we very much appreciate them all," he said.

A number of services of remembrance are planned for this month. On Monday, Creeslough's St Michael's Church held a service in memory of 49-year-old victim Martina Martin. 

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