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Monday, December 21, 1998 Published at 20:42 GMT


£2.3m to treat Omagh trauma

The aftermath of the Omagh bomb is long-lasting

The people of Omagh have been given £2.3m to deal with the health and social consequences of the August car bomb which blew their city apart.

Health and social services minister John McFall visited Omagh on Monday and announced the £2m package for health and social services.

The remaining £0.3m will go towards education services.

Speaking at a press conference at the Trauma Centre established by Sperrin Lakeland Health and Social Services Trust immediately after the bombing, Mr McFall said he had been "very impressed" at the way health and social services had attempted to help victims of the bombing and their relatives.

Twenty-nine people were killed after a car bomb, thought to be planted by an IRA splinter group, exploded in the heart of the city in August. Hundreds were injured.

Long-term effects

Mr McFall said: "It is only when one sees these detailed plans that the long-term effects of such events are forcibly driven home.

"Unless this additional funding were made available, it is inevitable that other deserving patients would remain longer on waiting lists and that the delivery of community services would be restricted."

The money will go towards counselling services and other support for victims, including home tutors for children badly injured by the bomb.

The Omagh Trauma Centre includes a range of voluntary organisations, such as Victim Support, bereavement charity CRUSE and the Samaritans.

Before leaving Omagh, Mr McFall said: "Christmas, for the people of Omagh will be a sad time to remember but it is also a time for hope - hope for a new beginning in a Northern Ireland where such atrocities will not happen again."

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