Belfast Telegraph

The quiet heroism of our busy bomb squad

By Lindy McDowell

Another day - another bomb scare.

Although scare is hardly the correct word for many of the incidents which are now almost routine in the daily headlines.

A lot of these 'scares' involve actual explosive devices. Like the one that was defused at a bank in Newry earlier this week.

It was, said a police chief, "a viable device which was capable of causing death, serious injury and substantial damage to the area".

Behind those sparse words is the bloody horror with which we were all once so familiar.

To the technical officer who dismantled the explosives, it was probably all in a day's work. But that bomb disposal expert put his life and limb on the line.

In recent months there have been dozens of similar call-outs for the bomb squad.

Until they get to work they will have no idea whether they are dealing with a hoax device - whether crude or elaborate. Or whether it's the lethal real thing.

Money, as they say, wouldn't pay you ...

The men and women who do it risk their lives on a daily basis and the best we can offer is the odd word of appreciation.

How do you adequately repay such bravery?

Hopefully the hard-pressed bomb squad get satisfaction from knowing that their courage has saved countless lives. That there are people who wouldn't be here but for their efforts. And that there are many, many of the rest of us who recognise their quiet heroism.

And are grateful for it.

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