herald

Friday 18 January 2019

I still hear the screaming and the sirens – survivor

a DUBLIN man who was seriously injured in the Parnell Street blast has lived with shrapnel around his heart for the past four decades.

Derek Byrne (54) was working as a petrol pump attendant in Parnell Street in 1974 when he was caught in the blast. Four decades on and he lives with the scars of the bombing every day.

In the past few years he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

“I remember the priest giving me absolution and being put in the ambulance,” he told The Herald.

“I still hear the screaming and the sirens. I was getting nightmares for years and years until they finally diagnosed post-traumatic stress.

“We never got any counselling, we were just expected to get on with it.

“If I walk up Parnell Street and I hear a bang or a car backfires I still jump. It brings me right back.”

Following the bombings, Mr Byrne was in a coma for 12 weeks.

By the time he woke up all investigations into the bombing had ceased.

“By the time I woke up it was like it was forgotten. Nobody even talked about it,” he said.

“If anyone asked me what had happened to me I would just say I was in an accident. I was left badly scarred and had shrapnel injuries all along my left side.

“I found out five years ago that I had shrapnel all around my heart. The cardiologist has only now given the all clear to have it removed,” he added.

Mr Byrne is now taking a civil action against the British Government on behalf of victims and survivors.

“Hopefully this will bring us some closure,” he said. “We just want the truth, it can’t undo what happened but it will bring some peace to finally have answers and an apology.”

hnews@herald.ie

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