Michelle Devane and Rebecca Black, PA
Taoiseach Micheál Martin has pledged support for the Co Donegal village of Creeslough after an explosion at a service station.
The deaths of nine people had been confirmed by Saturday afternoon with search efforts continuing.
Mr Martin said the community in Creeslough is going through an enormous trauma.
My thoughts and prayers are tonight with the entire community of Creeslough following today’s devastating explosion.
Thinking too of all the emergency services, from across the north-west and NI working in very traumatic situation.
— Micheál Martin (@MichealMartinTD) October 7, 2022
“We have to do everything we possibly can to help the community come through this, day-by-day and in the time ahead,” he said.
“No words will console what has happened and console those who have lost loved ones as a result of this tragedy, but we have to be there for them as a people and we have to do everything we can to help them to try and cope with this unspeakable tragedy.”
Asked what can be done by Government to help, Mr Martin said ministers would continue to “back up” local authority and health services.
“Whatever is required will be provided. And then in terms of counselling services, through childcare, through education, through family-based counselling, we will provide whatever services that are identified by the community as being necessary and that will help cope with this,” he said.
Separately, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar also offered his condolences following the "unthinkable tragedy".
"On Friday, the nation's collective heart stopped when the news broke."
"This freak accident has left many empty chairs at dinner tables. It is just too hard to fathom. The sadness is incomprehensible."
The Fine Gael leader said the work of emergency services from both sides of the Border has been "heroic", adding that hospitals are also providing the best care to those who were injured in the incident.
"This is only the beginning of the rescue. The effects will be felt for many years and we all have a role to play in providing whatever comfort we can.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with those families who have lost loved ones, those recovering in hospital, the local community, and our emergency service personnel," Mr Varadkar added.