Northern Ireland news

Docklands bomb survivor launches new counselling service inspired by friend's death

Jonathan Ganesh who survived the 1996 Doclands IRA bombing has founded a new counselling service. (Picture: Jonathan Ganesh)
Allan Preston

A SURVIVOR of the IRA London Docklands bombing has spoken of how a close friend's suicide inspired him start his own counselling service.

Jonathan Ganesh was among more than 100 people who were seriously injured in the 1996 attack which killed two people.

Having suffered with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, he has spent the last 25 years campaigning and helping others through the Docklands Victims Association (DVA).

He has now trained as a psychotherapist and is today officially launching Docklands Counselling.

The endeavour was prompted by the death of his close friend in 2016, Gemma Berezag, who took her own life after caring for her husband Zaoui who was left severely disabled by the Docklands bombing.

"Due to my own experience of PTSD this has given me an insight into this serious mental health condition. I welcomed this opportunity to establish Docklands Counselling which will revolutionise the counselling industry by making counselling more innovative and accessible," he said.

Among those welcoming the move was Joe Holbeach, who was left badly injured by the Enniskillen IRA bomb attack in 1987.

"Ever since (I) have struggled with mental illness. I tried to take my life and ended up in BlueStone Psychiatric Unit. Mr Ganesh helped me during this difficult time in my life and he also wrote a report to the court to explain my behaviour," he said.

Susanne Dodd lost her father Stephen, a Metropolitan Police inspector, in the Harrods IRA bombing in 1983.

"I will never forget the counselling support that I received from Jonathan," she said.

"I will never fully recover from the murder of my poor dad but with Jonathan's help I have be able to manage my mental health by developing strategies that allow me to cope."

Ihsan Bashir's brother Inam Bashir was killed in the Docklands bombing alongside John Jeffries. He was also good friends with Mrs Berezag.

"I do not feel mental health has really ever been properly addressed or supported. I'm sure Jonathan will make a huge difference in helping those whose lives have been impacted by horrific experiences," he said.

Establishing his new business with other experienced counsellors, Mr Ganesh said he aims to make the service more accessible and affordable with a mix of face to face and online counselling sessions. Discounts will also be offered to those who are receiving unemployment and disability benefit.

Northern Ireland news