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Monday, August 17, 1998 Published at 12:55 GMT 13:55 UK

How the world sees Omagh

BBC News online has received hundreds of e-mails in response to the bombing

As the details of Saturday afternoon's bombing in Omagh became apparent, hundreds of visitors to BBC News online from all over the world expressed their shock and disbelief at the worst paramilitary outrage in the Province's history.

Rory McGerty, who lives in Omagh, left the town centre shortly before the bomb exploded. He says in his e-mail that he was lucky - many weren't: "Everybody knows somebody in Omagh who was injured. My next door neighbour's cousin was killed. My friends' cousin was killed. Family friends are in hospital now battling for their lives. Dear God I hope that they pull through," wrote Rory.

While natives to Northern Ireland now living abroad grieve from afar. Patrick Maxwell says: "The price of peace in my native Northern Ireland is been payed for in its people's blood.They have suffered enough let the politicians take over and put the bomb and the bullets away."

Michael J Early from Kennebunkport, USA sums up the feelings of many:
No person with an ounce of humanity or decency can believe or condone such an atrocity regardless of their political belief.
Surely these animals will now realise that nobody will ever forgive or forget this atrocity and their campaign is at an end. The Good Friday Accord has ended the war and everybody must now look to the future of peace and forgiveness. My prayers and thoughts are with the people of my homeland.

John Costello writes: As an Irish citizen resident in France and having studied in Northern Ireland, I am disgusted by the events of this weekend. Perhaps the time has come for internment, as the entire political context has changed so radically.

Connie Sweeney, USA expresses the sense of incredulity and horror of many others:

"Tragedy is the only word that is printable. How can these bombers look at themselves in the mirror without seeing the faces of the children, women and men. These bombers call themselves human. No, they are the lowest form of life on earth. I extend my sympathies to the familes of the victims and pray for the speedy recovery of all the injured. Please let the peace process continue."

Paul O'Neill, from the USA wrote: From the age of two I have had to endure these news events; the bomb, the assassination, the riots. There follows the denounciations, the condemnations, the litany of woes and sorrows then finally hope that all this will end in peace. Well I grew up in Kerry and am well aware of the people who sympathise with the perpretators of such acts in my home area and I have lost all hope for peace. There is a level of chaos built into the whole N. Ireland thing just like Bosnia, Rwanda and Kosovo.
.A second civil war that spills across the border into the Republic could be a reality. My recommendation ( not a solution) is to bring back capital punishment and get Adams to finger them so that they can be made an example of.

Mrs H. Jodelka in the UK was moved to write: "My heart is breaking at the thought of the the families torn apart by this horrendous massacre. I hope and pray that the people of Ireland, both north and south of the border will never again have to endure the suffering that these acts bring."

"What kind of rationale, what reasoning for God's sake, is at work in these people's heads?" asks Mary Watson from St. Croix in US Virgin Islands, who was brought up in Bangor in County Down.

There is much anger too. Dan O'Hanley in Northern Ireland writes: "To all of you who consider yourselves better than your neighbours, - grow up! Disliking/killing someone who happens to share another way of worshipping his divinity is outrageous. To you 'toy soldiers' - get a job, grow up and stop trying to be someone's hero. The blood of the children should pour from your mouths.

"The tragedy of the arson deaths of the three little boys in Ballymoney is now multiplied by nine times, " says James White, also in America.

Jacqueline Cooke, of Texas is in despair. "I come from Derry in Northern Ireland and some day look forward to returning there.

"Every time something awful like this happens, I wonder why I want to return." One of the first emails to arrive was from Omagh itself.

Joe Cummings, a psychiatric nurse, wrote "I live in the beautiful town of Omagh and have done so for 47 years. Why have we been singled out to receive such a malicious and cowardly act?

"This is the saddest place on the planet tonight".

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