18 December 2005

Victom of city floods hurt in bomb horror

Sunday Life

By Ciaran McGuigan
18 December 2005

THE disabled man who met with NIO minister Shaun Woodward last week to welcome claims for compensation for victims of the Lower Ormeau flood is carrying a tragic secret.

For wheelchair-user Victor Gargan only narrowly escaped with his life when he was the innocent victim of a horrific pipe-bomb explosion.

Mr Gargan, who television viewers saw meeting the Regional Development Minister, lost two fingers and a thumb after being the innocent victim in the explosion - when he was just eight-years-old.

Victor had been playing with his younger brother and another pal outside their Hatfield Street homes when he found a pipe-bomb inside a hedge.

The device - believed to have been thrown from a passing car - exploded in Victor's hand causing him to lose two fingers and a thumb.

His brother and pal also suffered head and facial injuries from nails and other shrapnel from the device.

Mr Gargan (40), suffers from a cerebral condition that attacks his nervous system and can lead to fits - leaving his life in danger when sewage and water flooded into his house.

A Fire and Rescue team, and local community workers, were able to help him from his home when the floods struck on December 1.

It was one of almost 50 homes that suffered damage caused by shortfalls in the drainage and sewage system. More than 20 homes were destroyed.

Mr Woodward last week announce interim compensation payments of between £1,000 and £2,000 to 43 homes in the area, with full compensation to follow later.

The flooding, which saw a number of streets under over a foot of water, and carried raw sewage from throughout Belfast through homes, was blamed on a blocked sewer and a broken pump in the drainage system

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