Belfast Telegraph

20th anniversary of Omagh bombing should be last annual memorial, say organisers

The annual routine of public memorials to the Omagh bomb tragedy should end after this year, organisers said.

Relatives, friends and townsfolk will continue to remember the horrific events of August 1998 in which 29 people died from a Real IRA car bomb.

But the bereaved said now was the time to call a halt to annual commemorations.

The Omagh Support and Self-Help Group said: "The 20th anniversary is a milestone for those closely affected as well as the wider community who were moved by this horrific event.

"There is a sense that this point in time offers an opportunity to start to dissolve and disperse the routine of the memorial."

A series of other dates during the Troubles continue to be marked annually, including the Clonoe shooting dead of four IRA men by the SAS and the Kingsmill massacre of 10 Protestant workmen by republicans.

For years every August family and friends of the victims have gathered at a memorial in Omagh, Co Tyrone, near where a car bomb exploded and caused devastation to dozens of innocent shoppers, workers and holidaymakers.

After this year, the events may only be held at intervals like a 25th or 30th anniversary, organisers said.

"The intention of this phase associated with the 20th anniversary, is to allow creative processes to bring transitional steps beyond the existing format of the annual anniversary services, so that remembering in the future, will not be formalised and therefore private."

A book about the tragedy said many who did not live in Omagh remembered where they were when they heard the news.

In a statement the organisers said: "The impact of the sound of the bomb touched near and far: physically as well as the news of the bomb.

"One contributor in those conversations described the town as a 'running sore' and this still is likely to be the case as generations are impacted by such terror.

"The town still has a desperate need to be soothed."

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