Anger among 'the forgotten'

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The Independent Online
Eastenders living on the Isle of Dogs are a close-knit community. But in the aftermath of Friday night's bomb they are angry. Nearby office blocks were evacuated a full 45 minutes before the blast, but residents say they were told nothing of the potential danger on their doorsteps.

Ron Driscoll, of Grosvenor Wharf Road, said: "We all feel angry and alienated. As usual all the attention was focused on the financial centre and none on the people who actually live here.

"Canary Wharf is what everyone was interested in and not the rest of the island. We were ignored."

Residents have long had an antagonistic relationship with the sky-rise office blocks built in their back-yard, and are angry that their welfare was not considered in the hour leading up to the bomb. Many of them suffered minor injuries and had homes damaged in the blast.

Tony Ashkins, of Albert Grove, said the community were disregarded by security services who thought only to evacuate office workers. "The first I knew about the whole thing was when the windows came in and I was blown across the roof of my house.

"If they knew about the bomb an hour before it happened, then why didn't they put a warning on the early evening news, that way we could have all been evacuated," he said.

Feelings of neglect were heightened by media coverage which residents believe focused on the Docklands office blocks, at the expense of assessing the damage to their inner-city community.

Father Christopher Owens, of St Luke's Church, Barkantine Estate, said the subdued community was not actually angry at the IRA for planting the bomb.

"At the moment everyone is just pulling together and helping one another.

"Planting the bomb was of course wrong, but the nationalist community must be very angry with John Major for wantonly throwing a spanner in the works of the peace process."