Belfast Telegraph

Tribute to farmer who lost family in bomb

By David Youngoung

Omagh bombing campaigner Michael Gallagher last night paid tribute to Mick Grimes, who lost three generations of his family in the 1998 Real IRA atrocity.

Mr Grimes from Beragh, Co Tyrone died on Thursday.

His wife, Mary (66), daughter Avril Monaghan (30) and one-year-old granddaughter Maura were murdered in the savage terrorist attack, which claimed 29 lives and injured more than 200 people.

Campaigner Michael Gallagher, whose son Aidan (21) was among those killed, spoke last night of the dreadful burden that Mr Grimes has had to bear throughout his life.

"That Saturday evening after the bomb went off, a temporary mortuary had been set up in Lisanelly army camp," he told the Belfast Telegraph.

"As it became obvious that members of our family had been lost in the bomb, we had to go and identify them in the mortuary.

"I was in the mortuary with the Grimes family - I didn't know them before that - and they were going through the identification process.

"Mr Grimes had to try and identify his wife. Eventually, it was done by fingerprints. He also had to try to identify his daughter and his granddaughter.

"It was horrible thing to have to do and became horrific when you heard how many people his family had lost.

"This is a man who lost his wife, to whom he had been married for a long time, and his daughter and granddaughter and two unborn children.

"We all carried horrendous burdens, but the burden Mick Grimes was left to carry was by far the greatest."

Mr Grimes, a farmer, was a respected figure in the local community.

Ten years after the Omagh bombing, he published an autobiography called Till We Meet Again.

It focused mainly on his younger days, Mr Gallagher said.

"He briefly mentioned the Omagh bombing, but he didn't concentrate on it," he added.

"I think he found it too difficult to deal with."

Mr Grimes was also a member of the Victims' Forum, established in 2009.

No one has ever been convicted of the Omagh bombing.

Funeral details for Mr Grimes had yet to be announced last night.

Belfast Telegraph

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