04 June 2005

Daily Ireland

Gunshot boy goes home

by Zoe Tunney

Darragh Somers, the five-year-old shot in the head as he played in his school yard six weeks ago, was allowed out of hospital for the first time yesterday.
Doctors say he has made a miraculous recovery from the shooting, which almost cost him his life.
He was allowed to leave the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast for the weekend.
He left hospital in a wheelchair yesterday to visit his primary one classmates at St Patrick’s Primary School in Mullanaskea, Co Fermanagh.
He is still undergoing intense physiotherapy treatment and must return to hospital on Sunday. However, his spirits were high yesterday and he was delighted to be back among his friends.
On April 22, Darragh was playing in the yard of his school, a few kilometres from Enniskillen, when he was hit by a stray .22-calibre bullet.
He underwent surgery to remove the bullet and spent more than two weeks in intensive care. Darragh’s parents Gerald and Janine kept a 24-hour vigil by their son’s bedside.
A spokeswoman for the Royal Victoria Hospital yesterday said: “We at the hospital and Darragh’s family are delighted with the very good progress he has made. We are very pleased.”
No one has yet come forward to admit responsibility for the shooting incident, although both the PSNI and Darragh’s family have said from the outset they believe it was an accident.
Ballistics tests carried out on legally held weapons seized from the locality by police have proved inconclusive.
Investigating officers will now turn their attention to illegally held firearms in the area. They say they are still centring their inquiries on the immediate area around Darragh’s school.
It is understood that Darragh’s parents and the doctors treating him did not tell the five-year-old that he had been shot until a few days ago.
His visit to school yesterday was a pleasant surprise for his friends and teachers.
Bernie O’Connor, the headmaster of St Patrick’s, said: “It was fantastic. Darragh seems to be in very good form. But it was emotional for some of us.”

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