Belfast Telegraph

Families support 'terrorist' Omagh bombing plaque, says husband of woman killed in Real IRA attack

Those behind atrocity should be mentioned, says campaigner

Kevin Skelton, whose wife Philomena was among those that died during the Omagh bombing, stands next to the Omagh Bomb Memorial ahead of the 20th anniversary of the attack.
Kevin Skelton, whose wife Philomena was among those that died during the Omagh bombing, stands next to the Omagh Bomb Memorial ahead of the 20th anniversary of the attack.
Kevin Skelton at home near Drumquinn with the only picture of himself and his wife Philomena

The husband of a woman killed in the 1998 Omagh bombing has said families of other victims of the atrocity approved his move to attach a plaque to the memorial in the Co Tyrone town.

Over the Christmas period Kevin Skelton attached a plaque to a memorial at the location where the devastating car bomb exploded in the Real IRA attack.

It reads: "In memory of the 29 men, women, children and unborn twins who were brutally murdered and over 300 people injured by a dissident republican terrorist car bomb on the 15th August 1998. Never forgotten."

Reference is made to "dissident republican terrorists" at the nearby memorial garden but there was nothing placed on the Market Street site.

Kevin Skelton's wife Philomena was killed in the bombing. He said he placed the plaque on the memorial because he "wanted the truth to be told" and there was no indication of who carried out the attack.

He said he didn't do it behind anyone's back but in broad daylight.

"I don't think I have done anything wrong," he told the BBC.

"The people who claimed it are the people who are named on the plaque. It is not offensive to anyone.

"In another 50 years people will come along and at least know what happened. It is a reminder of the history of Omagh."

Mr Skelton said he had a "very good response" and not had one person saying he had done anything wrong.

The plaque placed by Mr Skelton at the Omagh bomb memorial in the town's Market Street. Pic BBC.
The plaque placed by Mr Skelton at the Omagh bomb memorial in the town's Market Street. Pic BBC.

"I didn't expect to get what I go. I did meet with families and people injured. I am chairman of Families Moving On. We are a large group and they all back me."

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council said the placing of the plaque was not authorised. The matter is to be raised at Tuesday night's council meeting.

Mr Skelton said there was nothing to be gained from removing the plaque.

"We held a service on the 15th of August here [at Market Street] for the first time in 20 years. I always said after 20 years anything to do with the Omagh bomb I was moving away from it and this was to cap it off. This is me and the Omagh bomb finished.

"Now is the time to move forward and work for the people left behind who need our help."

Breda Devine, 20 months
Breda Devine, 20 months
Esther Gibson
Spaniard Gonzalo Cavedo poses with a child on his shoulders beside the car carrying the bomb that seconds later killed 29 people, including the photographer
Elizabeth Rush
Olive Hawkes, aged 60
Julie Hughes, aged 21
Ann McCombe, aged 45
Mary Grimes, aged 65
Aiden Gallagher, aged 21
The bomb attack was the worst ever atrocity of Northern Ireland's decades of violence.
Brian McCrory, left, aged 54
Samantha McFarland, aged 17
Philomena Skelton, aged 39
Jolene Marlow, aged 17
The scene of the Omagh Bomb
Brenda Logue, aged 17
Alan Radford, aged 16
Bryan White, aged 27
Oran Doherty
Lorraine Wilson
Fred White
Veda Short
Geraldine Breslin
Deborah-Ann Cartwright
The scene of devastation in Omagh Town centre where upto 25 people have been killed in this afternoons blast. PACEMAKER BELFAST 15/08/98
Gareth Conway, Omagh bomb victim
James Baker, Omagh bomb victim
Several men have faced charges in connection with the attack, but nobody has ever been convicted of the murders
Cathy and Michael Gallagher, the sister and father of Omagh bomb victim, Aiden Gallagher.
PACEMAKER BFST 03-08-99: Man United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has a chat with Claire Gallagher, who lost her sight in the Omagh bomb, before yesterday's friendly against Omagh Town in aid of the Omagh Bomb Fund.
The happy couple — Ryan and Claire Bowse on their wedding day last year, nine years after Claire lost her sight due to injuries suffered in the Omagh bombing
The damage caused by the bomb explosion in Market Street, Omagh, 1998
Donna Marie McGillion, who was seriously injured in the Omagh bombing
The secret email which shows intelligence bosses knew that Omagh was a prime target for a terrorist attack weeks before the car bomb that devastated the town
Claire Radford, whose brother Alan was killed in the Omagh bomb, examines a new stained-glass window in the town's library with her daughter Mia. The window was created in memory of the victims of the blast which killed 29 people and unborn twins.
Michael Gallagher whose son Aiden, 21, was killed in the Omagh bomb attack Pic Paul Faith
Michael Gallagher (right), whose son Aiden, 21, was killed in the Omagh bomb attack with Stanley McCombe who lost his wife Ann Pic Paul Faith
Kevin Skelton at home near Drumquinn with the only picture of himself and his wife Philomena
Kevin Skelton at home near Drumquinn with the only picture of himself and his wife Philomena

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