Belfast Telegraph

Omagh bomb anniversary: Families' tears at emotional service 17 years on

By Nevin Farrell

There were tears at an emotional commemoration yesterday to mark the 17th anniversary of the Omagh bomb.

The Omagh Support & Self Help Group hosted the event when a 45-minute inter-denominational service of music, prayer and verse was held at the Co Tyrone town's memorial garden.

One of the organisers, Cat Wilkinson, said: "As we reflect on this 17th anniversary we recall the community spirit that was experienced in the aftermath of the bomb that devastated not only our small town but also our lives.

"With neighbour supporting neighbour and the influx of worldwide messages of sympathy, this gave strength to our broken hearts to carry on.

"That sense of community spirit is as much alive today as it was 17 years ago.

"It has built a foundation of compassion, empathy and love as we continue to support each other in our community and is a lasting legacy to those most affected. This service brings those elements together in a format that celebrates life whilst acknowledging the suffering that took place and that is still evident today."

The Real IRA bomb on August 15, 1998 killed 29 people and unborn twins.

Michael Gallagher, whose son Aidan was killed, said: "The purpose of it is to remember the people who were directly affected - the bereaved, the injured, the people who came in to support us, the hospitals, the police, the ambulance crews, the fire service and ordinary civilians.

"At this service we also remember all the other victims of the Troubles and those affected by terrorism worldwide.

"This is one time of the year where families can come together, pray together and socialise. That is important and of course remembrance is important."

Belfast Telegraph


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