Doctor targeted in Claudy bomb to start GAA club's hospice walk

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Army bomb experts at the scene
Image caption,
Army bomb experts were called to the Real IRA bomb in Claudy

A doctor whose home was targeted in a Real IRA bomb attack has spoken of his joy at being asked to start a sponsored walk in aid of Foyle Hospice.

A controlled explosion was carried out on a bomb found at Dr Keith Munro's home near Claudy last week.

Now Foreglen Gaelic Athletic Club in County Londonderry have invited Dr Munro to lead the walk on Saturday as a gesture of support after the attack.

It is in aid of Foyle Hospice, of which the doctor is acting chief executive.

Dr Munro explained how the invitation had come about.

"I have been invited along with my wife," he said.

"I am the chairman of the trustees of the hospice and because of what happened to us with the device in the garden, the club contacted us and said that they wanted everyone to come out in support of us against the violence.

"We are naturally delighted, the club have been very supportive of our efforts over the years.

"We have a budget of £2.1m and less than 25% comes from government grants, so we rely on the generosity of the people in the north-west to keep the hospice going."

Foreglen GAC said they had raised more than £30,000 for the hospice since the sponsored walk was started three years ago.

Bahai faith

They said it is held in memory of two former club members who were cared for at the hospice.

Dr Munro combines his full-time job as a forensic medical officer with his role there.

He has been involved with the hospice project since the 1980s and stressed the importance of its work.

"It is very important, when any person has the realisation that their days are numbered and that they need the service of the hospice, we give them and their families every aspect of care," he added.

A member of the Bahai faith, who previously served as its Northern Ireland secretary, Dr Munro said both he and his wife had been inundated with goodwill messages following the bomb attack earlier this month.

"We have had massive support from all sections of the community," he said.

"Some of the people who at the time of the Troubles might have been involved, have also supported me as well.

"The process has moved on in Northern Ireland and we are trying to build bridges.

"I have had the support of the Bahai faith worldwide, we are working for peace, so it is ironic that they (dissident republicans) are targeting me."

Dr Munro said that although he worked with the police in his job as a forensic medical officer, the role was independent of the police.

He has been involved with the forensic service for more than 40 years.

"I serve night and day and could be called at any time," he added.

"We also look after the human rights of those who are arrested, to see they are fed and watered and are in a fit state to be interviewed."

He turns 68 at the end of the month, but Dr Munro says he has no intention of slowing the pace of his stride.

"I am feeling very well and it keeps me active," he said.

"It is our belief that we use our gifts to serve whenever we can for as long as we can.

"There is a lot of prayer and I rely on the grace of God."