Creeslough parish priest Fr John Joe Duffy has his offered thanks and appreciation to President Michael D Higgins, following a visit to the town on Thursday.
The President visited Creeslough following the state funeral of Private Sean Rooney in Newtowncunningham.
In a statement, Fr Duffy thanked the President for his expression of “solidarity and support” to the Creeslough community in the weeks and months after the Creeslough tragedy in which 10 people lost their lives.
Fr Duffy also said the President was “…truly gracious, extremely generous with his time, showing absolute kindness and empathy throughout; truly caring and supportive of the people of Creeslough. He was able to recall with great detail the families and ask about them with tremendous clarity on an individual basis and for those who were injured”.
Full statement from Fr John Joe Duffy:
I would like to thank from the bottom of my heart President Michael D Higgins who visited Creeslough on Thursday, 22nd December to further express his solidarity and support to our community, to all who lost loved ones, to all who were injured and all who are affected by the tragedy of the 7th of October last.The President came to visit Creeslough after attending the funeral of Private Seán Rooney whose family, loved ones, friends and colleagues we are keeping in our prayers and hearts as we also pray for the recovery to health of Trooper Shane Kearney, whose loved ones and families we are also keeping in our prayers.The President enquired about the families of the bereaved, those who were injured, those who lost their homes and all who were affected by the tragedy. President Higgins expressed his heartfelt desire that I let the families whose loved ones died in the tragedy at Creeslough, the injured, the Cresslough community and all who are affected by the tragedy of the 7th October 2022, know that they all are in his thoughts and will continue to be over these days in a particular way. The President is remembering and keeping in his thoughts in particular the bereaved families, those who lost loved ones and their loved ones this Christmas.I also informed the President of the services that are still in place and what we as a community have being undertaken since the tragedy in Creeslough which has affected so many people and communities beyond the physical geographical entity of what is Creeslough. When we talk of the Creeslough tragedy of October 7th, we include all those from the diaspora of Creeslough worldwide and all who are affected and impacted upon by the upheaval of the tragedy from other communities.I mentioned to the President the generosity of the speakers, musicians and singers who partook in the Novena of Masses and in other events. I told the President of some things that have been taking place in our community from the under 13 GAA team’s success, to our athletes’ success, the work in our schools, the publication of the Creeslough Annual, the putting up of Christmas lights, the tractor run and the giving of peoples time and energy and the generosity which has being extraordinary. So many people have been organising events locally as well as people continuing to send messages, books of condolences and gifts; people across the island of Ireland and from other countries have been very kind to us. I outlined the continuing support from agencies and from voluntary organisations from both the Republicof Ireland and from Northern Ireland. I spoke to the President of the generosity and goodwill of so many people from across the country and beyond the shores of the island of Ireland.Once again I want to thank the President for taking the time and for making the journey to assure all those affected by the tragedy in Creeslough of his solidarity, support and care. All are in his thoughts and you can see that the President is carrying us all in his heart.The community of those affected by the Creeslough tragedy, the surrounding communities and I will be forever thankful and grateful to our President who not only came to visit us but stayed with us during the funerals of eight of the people of which three were children and all so young, some just starting out on the journey of life. Our kind, caring, compassionate, loving, and empathic President rushed back from a European heads of State summit in those darkest days to be here with his people and in a particular way with all who were most directly impacted upon by the tragedy and upheaval of the 7th of October last.Our President walked with us in solidarity, and carried us with his compassion and empathy and President Higgins continues to be for us all just as he was in that week of October as a kindly empathic father figure who desires to accompany us on our journey through these days, weeks, months and years that lie ahead.The President in his recent visit was truly gracious, extremely generous with his time, showing absolute kindness and empathy throughout; truly caring and supportive of the people of Creeslough. He was able to recall with great detail the families and ask about them with tremendous clarity on an individual basis and for those who were injured.I wish also to thank the President’s Aide-de-Camp, Colonel Stephen Howard, the staff of the office of the President and the President’s staff for their kindness and generosity.Creeslough has shown to the world that there are no limitations to the depth and extent of human kindness – and we as a community will never forget those that took us to their hearts at this time of tragedy and we thank you all for continuing to keep us in your hearts and prayers.May the Christ Child Bless you this Christmas and fill your lives with Peace.