Omagh Bomb

  1. theirishobserver. profile image59
    theirishobserver.posted 7 years ago

    In 1998 a bomb exploded in a shopping town in County Tyrone and murdered 29 men, women and children. The bomb had been planted by 'republican' terrorists. While the world united in condeming that out rage, many victims have been left forgotten, as the story disappeared from the headlines.

    A badly burned victim of the 1998 Omagh bomb massacre has yet to receive a penny in compensation, it was revealed today.

    Donna Marie McGillion, 34, blamed legal red tape for the delay in getting her money.

    She said: "It is just a waiting game now and it is not nice because you are trapped in this hole and you cannot get out and when you get to the surface there is someone up there to shove you back down."

    Mrs McGillion suffered burns to 65% of her body when she was pulled from the debris of the bomb, which left 29 dead including a mother pregnant with twins.

    The legal process for compensation took eight years to begin in earnest because medics were trying to establish the extent of her injuries.

    Nobody has ever been convicted of planting the Omagh bomb, although five men were later sued in the civil courts by the Omagh families who wanted to show that they were responsible. Four were found liable: alleged Real IRA leader Michael McKevitt; Liam Campbell; Seamus Daly and Colm Murphy. Seamus McKenna was cleared of liability.

    South Armagh electrician Sean Hoey was cleared of the bombing by Belfast Crown Court.

    Michael Gallagher, whose son Aiden, 21, was killed in the bombing, has led a battle for a cross-border public inquiry into events at Omagh.

    "The Compensation Agency acts more like loss adjusters than compensating people for the trauma that they have went through and the loss that they have had.

    "It is important that this is recognition from government and society that people have suffered more than they should," he said.

    Married mother-of-two Mrs McGillion said officials had failed to show compassion after she suffered third degree burns to most of her body and a piece of shrapnel is still lodged in her neck. The former supermarket supervisor will never work again.

    She was given only a slim chance of surviving and spent six weeks in a coma. She was so badly burned she had to wear a specially constructed mask while her wounds healed.

    Despite her injuries she was married seven months later to fiancé Gary and gave birth to her first child Cara in August 2001. She has since had another child, Cormac.

    Her compensation case is the subject of a forthcoming court action.

    "I don't want to become mega-rich because of what happened in Omagh but I want to be able to support my children how I would have done had I continued working," she said.

    She added: "I am frustrated and it causes a lot of stress and pressure in my life, 12 years on it isn't the nicest thing in the world to have to go through."

    She still receives medical treatment and said if her condition deteriorated she wanted to be able to get whatever she needed to be comfortable.

    "I did not ask to be in the middle of a bomb or to receive these injuries or for my whole life to be turned around," she said.

    She suffered third degree burns to 65% of her body including to her face, torso and legs. During her treatment she developed infections and pneumonia. The shrapnel embedded in her neck cannot be removed and is hitting a nerve causing excruciating pain in her arms.

    It is understood all Omagh victims were offered compensation following the bomb.

    A spokesman for the Compensation Agency said: "We don't comment on individual cases."