Last Omagh victim returns home

 

The last victim of the Omagh bombing was released from hospital yesterday and spoke of her joy at going home for Christmas.

Ms Tracey Devine (27), whose baby daughter Breda was killed in the explosion, said she was looking forward to spending time with her husband and three other children.

She has been recovering in hospital for four months after receiving 60 per cent burns in the blast. She was unconscious for six weeks and unaware that her 21-month-old daughter was dead.

But after months in intensive care and hours of painful physiotherapy she said she was now determined to give her three other children as good a Christmas as possible. "It's been a long, hard struggle but I have got over the worst of it now," she said.

Ms Devine's brother Gary and his fiancee were badly injured in the Real IRA bomb. The family had gone into town to buy shoes for Breda, who was to be a flower girl at her uncle's wedding.

They were virtually beside the bomb when it went off. "When I came round I saw Gary but I couldn't find Breda. It was Gary who found her and gave her to the paramedics and I went to hospital in an Ulsterbus," Ms Devine said.

As she fought for life, she was unaware that her baby was dead and was too badly injured to attend the funeral. "I was unconscious for the first six weeks and they told me when I came round that she had died. It took a while to sink in. I thought I was dreaming. It was going in and out all the time, but eventually it did sink in."

She said she now just wanted to get home to be with her remaining three children - Aaron (6), Niamh (4) and Shay (2). "They know Breda won't be coming back, but they're glad they're going to get their mummy back for Christmas. It's really good to be going home."

She said she could never forgive those responsible for the bombing and wanted to see them punished. "I hope somebody forgives them because I never will. But as long as they're caught and justice is done then maybe things will change. As time has gone on I have mellowed a wee bit but I don't think I'll ever forgive them."