Belfast Telegraph

Widower of Omagh bomb victim buried beside wife he lost

By Adrian Rutherford

The husband of a woman killed in the Omagh bombing has been buried alongside his beloved wife.

Laurence Rush, whose wife Elizabeth was among the victims of the Real IRA attack, passed away at the weekend.

Several hundred mourners packed Sacred Heart Church in the Co Tyrone town on Monday for the 70-year-old’s funeral.

The congregation included local religious and political figures, and relatives of other people who died in the August 1998 bombing.

Among them was Michael Gallagher, whose son Aidan was killed.

“It was a really lovely service with lots of music,” he said. “Laurence was a popular man. He would have been well-known before the bombing, but that tragedy brought him into a wider focus.”

Laurence died at Knockmoyle Lodge nursing home, where he was being cared for after suffering a stroke, on Sunday morning.

His life had been transformed by the death of Elizabeth, known as ‘Libby’, in the bombing.

The pair had been childhood sweethearts and married when they were both 18.

Mrs Rush owned a pine and canework business in Omagh. Her shop took the full force of the blast and she was killed while serving customers.

After the bombing Mr Rush said: “They have not only destroyed my wife, they have destroyed my life. I have lost not only my wife, I have lost my soulmate.”

He later became a strong campaigner for justice for the victims.

Mr Gallagher said Laurence always struggled to cope with losing his wife. “The Omagh bombing destroyed his life,” he added.

“Laurence and Libby were together for 60 years and he could never bear that separation.

“Now that he has been buried alongside her, it’s like they are back together again.”

Mr Rush, who was interred at St Mary’s Cemetery, Drumragh, is survived by his daughter Siobhan and sons Anthony and Andrew.

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