Omagh families' solidarity plea ahead of 20th anniversary
The father of a man killed in the Omagh bomb has urged solidarity with the families of those who died in the atrocity on the 20th anniversary this summer.
An inter-denominational service is planned to take place at the memorial garden in the Co Tyrone town at 3pm on Sunday, August 12.
A public reflective event will then take place at 2.55pm on Wednesday, August 15, at the bottom of Market Street, to mark the precise moment 20 years on that the atrocity happened.
A bell will be rung 32 times, to reflect the 31 lives lost with an additional ring to remember all those who have lost and continue to lose their lives through such atrocities the whole world over. The bell will stop ringing at precisely 3.10pm to mark the exact moment of the explosion. Local businesses and employees are encouraged to come along, or to have a two-minute silence at that time.
Michael Gallagher said he hoped to bring together the families who were bereaved, as well as the injured and rescue workers from the day.
"Everyone is welcome, the bereaved, the injured, the people who came in to assist on the day, the police, fire brigade, ambulance and the ordinary members of the public, people who supported us during the funeral and those who lay flowers."
He added: "We hope all of those people can manage to be at the service. We are hoping it will be an uplifting service." Mr Gallagher said it felt unbelievable to him that 20 years had passed since the bomb.
"There is a whole block of years I can't even account for, time seems to fly past," he said.
"The sad bit of Omagh is that we have no convictions on either side of the border despite the fact that there was a substantial amount of information known before and after the bomb. That continues to be a source of pain for the families."
Mr Gallagher also revealed that hearings are set to take place at Belfast High Court in July following the judicial review he submitted four years ago after the decision by the then Secretary of State Theresa Villiers not to order a public inquiry into the bombing.