Service pays tribute to Omagh victims

THE 29 victims of the Omagh bomb were remembered at the Memorial Garden in the town on Sunday afternoon, 14 years on from the atrocity.

The eleven Israeli athletes murdered at the Munich Olympic Games 40 years ago as well as the victims of Bloody Friday were also remembered in a poignant inter-denominational service.

A number of ministers gave readings during the service, which also included a performance by St Eugene’s brass band and gospel singer Leslie Matthews.

Several members of the local Jewish community also attended the service and a representative read out a poem written this year to remember the Israeli athletes killed at Munich by Palestinian terrorists. An estimated 500 people turned out to the service despite the wet weather, including Justice Minister David Ford, chairman of Omagh District Council Errol Thompson and representatives from the Northern Ireland Office and the Irish government.

Spokesperson for the Omagh Support and Self-Help Group Michael Gallagher, whose 21-year-old son Aidan died in the 1998 bomb, said the families were gratified by how many people had turned out to the service.

He said: “There is a determination to get to the truth, and why those responsible were never brought before the courts,” he said.

“We have commissioned a report that we gave to the Secretary of State in June, to Irish Justice Minister Alan Shatter in July and we gave a copy of it to Justice Minister David Ford at this service.

Those murdered were: James Barker (12), Seán McLaughlin (12) and Oran Doherty (8), from County Donegal, Fernando Blasco Baselga (12) and Rocío Abad Ramos (23) from Spain, Geraldine Breslin (43), Gareth Conway (18), Breda Devine (1), Aidan (or Aiden) Gallagher (21), Mary Grimes (65), Brenda Logue (17), Brian McCrory (54), Seán McGrath (61), Jolene Marlow (17), Avril Monaghan (30; pregnant with twins), Maura Monaghan (1), Elizabeth Rush (57), Philomena Skelton (39); Deborah-Anne Cartwright (20), Esther Gibson (36), Olive Hawkes (60), Julia Hughes (21), Ann McCombe (48), Samantha McFarland (17), Alan Radford (16), Veda Short (56), Fred White (60), Bryan White (26), Lorraine Wilson (15). (Seán McGrath died from his injuries on 5 September 1998.)