Droppin’ Well bomb victim speaks out

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A barman who was blasted 15 feet across the room in the Droppin’ Well bomb has spoken out for the first time in almost 30 years in an effort to help survivors of other atrocities committed during the Troubles.

Martin McCann was 17 years of age when the INLA bomb exploded in the village bar on December 6, 1982. 17 people were killed.

The teenager walked away from the no warning blast, uninjured - but not unaffected.

For the last 28 years there hasn’t been a day when the horror of that night hasn’t “haunted him”, when he hasn’t asked himself, ‘Why did I survive?’

Only last year, after several anxiety attacks, Martin realized something was wrong.

“I’ve been playing bowls since I was 17,” he said. “Last September I found a reason not to be secretary of the League.

“At that meeting where I announced it, a lady said she could see the pain in me. I left that meeting knowing something was wrong. The next few days I was really down and my wife Patricia knew there was something badly wrong.”

Within days Martin met with a local doctor and members of the Limavady Mental Health Team. Then he started counselling.

“It was the best thing I ever did, asking for help. The only thing that my depression could be related to was the bomb.

“If it wasn’t for the counselling I’d still be running away from it all.”

By speaking out, Martin hopes to encourage others who have suffered in silence to seek help.

Limavady SDLP councillor Gerry Mullan said Martin is very brave, very courageous and very selfless to come out in public and try to help others.

Colr Mullan said funding support for bodies to help victims must be re-visited.

“That is the reality and without support groups there would be no hope for the relatives and victims of atrocities such as those just mentioned,” he said, adding: “The whole issue of support for funding for victims needs to be revisited. Funding must be available for such organisatios and others that have a history of bringing comfort to the forgotten victims of the Troubles.”