‘One man hadn’t slept or eaten since the fire’


New Ross Standard - - NEWS - BY DAVID LOOBY

CREA­CON LODGE owner Derek O’Neill is com­mit­ting huge re­sources to help sur­vivors of the Gren­fell Tow­ers fire, hav­ing vis­ited the area ear­lier this month.

Derek, who is an in­ter­na­tion­ally ac­claimed psy­chother­a­pist, mo­ti­va­tional speaker and author, was asked by some ‘pow­er­ful clients’ in Lon­don to travel to the city to hold a work­shop for the vic­tims.

Derek said: ‘ They just felt that there was noth­ing re­ally be­ing done for the peo­ple who were in a des­per­ate state. They asked me to come over and help as I had helped peo­ple with their 9/11 ex­pe­ri­ences in New York.’

Derek trav­elled to Lon­don on August 11 and made na­tional head­lines within 24 hours, be­ing de­scribed as a psy­chother­a­pist to the stars. Around 30 peo­ple at­tended, in­clud­ing around ten lead­ers of lo­cal com­mu­nity groups. The work­shop in­cluded one young man who said his life was trans­formed by spend­ing time with Derek af­ter the work­shop. Derek said: ‘ There was a lot of anger at the govern­ment at the meet­ing as peo­ple felt that noth­ing was be­ing done. I spoke to peo­ple who were in the tower or lived near it. One man hadn’t slept or eaten since he saw peo­ple fall­ing from the tower. When­ever he closed his eyes he saw some­one jump­ing from the win­dows of the huge tower, but hav­ing spent a few hours with me - when­ever he closed his eyes the tower was the size of a sim card and all the noise and smells of the day were gone.’

Derek was praised on so­cial me­dia by mu­sic star Niall Ho­ran and Rio Fer­di­nand for his ‘in­cred­i­ble work’.

He said: ‘My job wasn’t to get caught up in the pol­i­tics. I was warned that the work­shop could get vi­o­lent and ten min­utes into it this woman started scream­ing at me say­ing: “Who do you think you are telling us to breathe and be happy and be well”. I told them that I couldn’t imag­ine what they had been through and that their anger and emo­tions were le­git­i­mate.’

He said the test work­shop lasted two-and-a-half hours, adding that he will re­turn in early Septem­ber for an­other work­shop

‘It wasn’t long enough so I am go­ing back in,’ Derek said, adding that it was very emo­tional be­ing at the Gren­fell site where at least 80 peope were killed, some fall­ing from the tower in­ferno.

He has of­fered to work with the vic­tims over two years free of charge and to pro­vide 60 teach­ers from across the world for work­shops in this time. ‘We will do it on a ro­ta­tion over the next years to help the chil­dren us­ing child psy­chol­o­gists treat­ing them for long term anx­i­ety.’

Derek worked with lo­cal ac­tivist Michael De­foe, who runs the Har­row Club, a youth and com­mu­nity cen­tre based min­utes from Gren­fell Tower, in Lon­don. He said child psy­chol­o­gists, heal­ers, spir­i­tual lead­ers and other pro­fes­sion­als will help the sur­vivors. ‘I have been train­ing th­ese peo­ple in my own method­ol­ogy, which is why I chose them. They are will­ing to fly over on their own ex­penses. Af­ter two years we will see what spon­sor­ship we can get. There was one woman af­ter 9/11 who took six-and-a-half years to come to terms with it.’

ABOVE: Gren­fell tower block on fire in Lon­don back in June. TOP: Crea­con Lodge owner Derek O’Neill.

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