Áine Flanagan’s partner Robert Garwe and daughter Shauna Flanagan Garwe died during the explosion on October 7th, last at the Applegreen Service Station.
Ms Flanagan’s brother, Killian Flanagan, raised the issue on today’s RTÉ’s Liveline.
He told how he has contacted TG4 and the gardaí to request that the programme does not air while an ongoing garda investigation is under way.
The documentary on the blast, which killed 10 people in October 2022, is due to air on TG4 tonight.
Mr Flanagan said that families were not consulted about the programme, entitled ‘An Craoslach’.
He said sister only found out from an online article on Donegal Daily and “hasn’t slept a wink” since last Tuesday as a result.
He said that the investigation into the disaster is a multi-agency investigation and Ms Flanagan is holding out for answers as to what happened and why it happened.
Mr Flanagan agreed that the community and first responders involved in the documentary are heroes, but “tomorrow night Áine and others will be forced to look at a one-hour documentary revisiting the worst chapter of their existence, and seeing and hearing things for the first time and it’s not acceptable”.
Speaking on behalf of his sister, he said she is devastated at the prospect of what she is going to see and hear tonight.
This airing on a “State-brand media” was “very disappointing” and more like the actions of how a UK tabloid may treat a victim’s family in a tragic case, Mr Flanagan said.
“This should not the first representation of what happened,” he added.
“Why they would put the needs of sensationalism ahead of the needs of the victims’ families, I just don’t get it”.
He also said that when the garda investigation is complete, answers will be provided and people can somehow process that and this would be the appropriate time to celebrate what was achieved by first responders, not at a time when families are trying move forward.
He added that the idea of it airing now “beyond comprehension” and asked why it cannot air in six months’ time instead.
A statement from TG4 said the focus of the documentary ‘Iniúchadh TG4 – An Craoslach’ is to shine a light on the people of the area who assisted in the rescue at the scene of the explosion.
It continues “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 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
“Some of those who took part did so with the knowledge of some of those who lost loved ones. The programme shows the upmost 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 statement concludes that the company who made the programme, Clean State TV, has a reputation for sensitivity in previous documentaries, with “highly respected former BBC journalist Kevin Magee” as part of the team.
Mr Flanagan said that the victims’ families need more recognition, more compassion and empathy at this time as “this is too traumatising three months in to put anyone through at this point in time”.
He added that his own family had no awareness that the documentary was being made let alone airing so soon, but he added that some contributors in the documentary had also contacted TG4 to ask that it not be shown.
The garda press office has also contacted TG4 to pass on the request of Ms Flanagan’s family, he said.Tags: