Relief all round in Clancy Road

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Among the close-knit community of Clancy Road in the north Dublin working- class suburb of Finglas, relief was written all over the faces of neighbours of the Woolhead family.

A few doors away from their home, the Casey family were gathered around the television in their front room when the lunchtime bulletin broke the welcome news that injured neighbour Brendan Woolhead, 33, was no longer a suspect in the Aldwych bombing, and an armed police guard had been removed.

The Woolhead's own house was deserted but for press photographers, the family having left the previous evening to be beside their second youngest son in hospital.

The Caseys were wary, torn between caution after an initial media invasion, and their wish to defend the good name of neighbours of 40 years, whom they trusted absolutely.

Official confirmation that police had accepted he was innocent, a chance victim of a bomb being carried by one of his own countrymen, helped lift their caution. Angie Casey, 32, who grew up alongside Brendan, said: "I was awake all last night. I just could not believe he would be involved in anything like that."

Mr Woolhead's parents, Joe and Marie, are held in high esteem locally, their childrens' college educational achievements a source of admiration.

Brendan Woolhead's experience epitomises the predicament of countless Irish people with emigrant relatives living peacefully in Britain throughout the Troubles. He had recently returned home to Dublin after several years living in England, hoping to find work as a telephone technician.

Unsuccessful, he had returned to London on Sunday, and was due to begin work with a British Telecom contractor on Monday. His wife had not returned to London, and had remained in Dublin with their four-year-old son.

Mr Woolhead's brother, Gerald, said: "I was flabbergasted to hear he was a suspect."

Mr Woolhead has a fractured skull and a broken leg, which has already been operated on. He will have surgery on a broken pelvis tomorrow "He is coherent and recognises us, so we're hopeful he can make a full recovery," his brother said.