Effects of IRA bomb felt long after ceasefire ending blast

The aftermath of the 1996 Canary Wharf bomb
The aftermath of the 1996 Canary Wharf bomb
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A victim of the massive bomb detonated at Canary Wharf said the attack that ended the first IRA ceasefire has left a “terrible legacy” in the capital’s Docklands area.

Jonathan Ganesh suffered serious injuries in the February 1996 blast that killed two people and devastated the lives of many more.

Docklands Victims' Association president Jonathan Ganesh

Docklands Victims' Association president Jonathan Ganesh

The president of the Docklands Victims’ Association said there was no reason to expect that terrorists would target the commercial heart of London – 17 months after the cessation of violence announced on August 31, 1994.

“Like everybody else we believed there was a ceasefire, that it was holding and that it was good, but suddenly life would never be the same again,” he said.

“It puts you on a different path altogether. I was studying for a law degree and could have had a boxing career, but that was all taken away from me that night. And I was one of the lucky ones because I can still speak to you.”

Mr Ganesh said he knows of two people badly affected by the IRA bombing who later took their own lives.

Many others have been left blinded and with other serious physical injuries, while a number still suffer from mental trauma.

“When the bomb went off it left a lot of people in shock. It was a terrible thing to do and we are all living with the legacy of it.

“We all support the peace process – we definitely don’t want to go back to that dark place – but we should always remember what happened.

“I am happy things have moved forward but I can’t forget the pain of Canary Wharf.”

The then prime minister John Major described the bombing as “an appalling outrage” and vowed to “relentlessly pursue those responsible”.

Labour leader and future PM Tony Blair also condemned what he called “a sickening outrage,” and said there could be “no justification whatsoever for a return to terrorism”.

The cost of repairing the damage is said to have been in the region of £150 million.

The two men who died were Inam Bashir, 29 and John Jeffries who was 31.