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Sunday, August 16, 1998 Published at 09:23 GMT 10:23 UK

The Omagh bombing - your reaction

The devastation in the town centre

This is some of the reaction of visitors to BBC News online to the Omagh bombing on Saturday afternoon. Tell us what you think. Click here to email us. Please tell us your name and the country from which you are accessing BBC News online.

I live in the beautiful town of Omagh and have done 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. Why? What cause justifies the taking of a life never mind the number taken in this town? I know that friends of mine have been killed and mutilated. I feel helpless, guilty and angry. I will pray for everyone involved.

Joe Cummings. A psychiatric nurse.

I have been following the reports on the BBC Website since 3am this morning in NZ. I am originally from Omagh and my family all live there. Fortunately they were all out of town However my father's business has been destroyed. I have been able to keep up with what has happened through the web and BBC World News which is broadcast on TV One in New Zealand over night. I am just waiting now to hear if I knew any of the people murdered. It's not a pleasant thing to have to do. My thoughts go out to the hundreds of people affected by the bomb in what has been a peaceful town for the past 10-15 years.

Andy Eakins Auckland New Zealand

I have lived in Northern Ireland for all of my thirty years. Last year I worked in the town of Omagh for several months. When I heard the news today I was shocked and disgusted. My prayers are with the suffering people of that previously peaceful and pretty town. We all thought that this type of thing was behind us. How long will it be before people realise that murder is murder, regardless of whether it is politically motivated or not?

David McClean

My name is John Hughes and I live in Tucson, AZ. I work for the Ulster Project here. Over the course of the past three years I have got to know 36 Omagh teens and 7 counselors. They are all, along with their family members, friends of my wife and me. We call each one of them on their birthdays. To us here all have become an extension of our family and lives. We have telephoned today and spoken to those we could reach. The tragedy has been described first hand to us. My own maternal grandparents were born just outside of Omagh in the village of Six Mile Cross back in the 1800's. Blood relatives of mine still live there and in the surrounding area. I hope and pray that none of them, none of these teenagers, none of their family members and friends lie in blood at this time. We pray for those who have lost their lives, who lie wounded and injured because of what is to all, except a few, a senseless act of violence.

God bless, love and protect all in Omagh.

John Hughes.

I am sickened. The Lord will comfort those involved, and may he also help the poor deranged ones who carry out such evil. Our prayers are for them.

Stephen Montgomery, 16, Bangor, Northern Ireland

My deepest sympathy goes out to those who have been injured or lost loved ones in this terrible blast. My family and I just returned from our native N.I. last Saturday and are stunned by these events. When will Gerry Adams and his cohorts outrightly condemn ALL the violence and declare this senseless war over? NOW??? Oh, I'm sure there'll be some excuse why he won't! All of us were shocked and disgusted by the tragic deaths of the Quinn brothers and thought that surely that dastardly deed would put an end to this madness. Once again we weep with the people of Northern Ireland. May God help those who truly love that beautiful province to put an end to the violence. Our prayers are with you all!

Jennifer Kirk Ontario, Canada

How does this new outrage differ from the bombs planted earlier in NI and elsewhere? The perpetrators of those acts are now being released by the PMs of Britain and NI. Is that the "justice" being promised for the perpetrators of the latest crime?

Walter Murray

My sympathies are with all those who have lost someone close during this highly troubles time. When such smaller bombings have taken place in the past, the message has always been 'this will bring us closer together and stronger'. In a situation like this its hard to say that we can bcome closer together agianst violence, but we must try for the peace of N. Ireland. May God be with the people of N. Ireland in this dark period of time.

Mark Evans

This raises the question of whether the IRA is able to deliver the denial of violence which it has said it could, and reinforces the necessity of disarming all terrorist organisations in the drive for peace in Northern Ireland.

C. S. Clark.

As someone who left N.Ireland for the USA 40 years ago, and who has relatives still living in the province, I am horrified and saddened by this madness. My heart goes out to those who have been bereaved and to the wounded. The tragedy of the arson deaths of the three little boys in Ballymoney is now multiplied by nine times. May God have mercy on our land and may the people of N. Ireland somehow find the courage to preservere towards a peace that is just for all who share a small divided space. The time has come for ALL people of goodwill to say enough is enough. Thanks to the BBC for helping exiles like me keep in touch with the news of my beloved and tortured homeland.

James White, USA

I think the monsters who planted and detonated this bomb, are not soldiers in any conflict. They are simply murderers, twisted henious murders.

Jim Wilson USA

As an American, I apologize. Mr. Clinton (he is not worthy of being called President), by entertaining Gerry Adams in the White House (allowing him to enter the United States), has given him a green light to continue his murderous acts in Northern Ireland. Mr. Adams, how dare you! You are the culprit and until you and your terrorist friends are behind bars, Northern Ireland will never have peace. I have a very dear friend in Northern Ireland and repeatedly she says it is not about Catholics and Protestants-- it is about the IRA (a terrorist/communist group). A message to the people of Northern Ireland--please come together--Catholics and Protestants--and fight the real enemy--Mr. Adams and his gang. My heart is broken. You have suffered so much and so many innocent adults and children have been murdered. My thoughts and prayers are with Northern Ireland.

Beverly Dewey

It unfortunately does not take too many people to continue a politics based on the latest atrocity. One only recently prayed that the burning alive of the Quinn Brothers might bring this cycle to an end. Now we have the sheer horror of the largest single bombing in Northern history. That the bomb seems to have ripped indiscrimately into both Catholic and Protestant shoppers may be the difference. What's left in Northern Ireland now are only people who reject violence, and those who still commit it; there is no longer any other identity that matters. Those who reject violence -- the overwhelming majority in both major communities -- must work as if life itself is at stake should they fail. It is. The lifes to two different communities is now inexotably locked together. Together protestants and catholics must learn to live, or die, in No. Ireland. Sectarianism, obviously, will only drive an individual, or an entire people, mad.

Bob Callahan Berkeley, California

This is nothing less than what you can expect when you appease terroists. Mo Mowlam,Tony Blair,David Trimble and all those yes men are equally responsible.

Rob McIldoon USA


The Hotchkiss Household(Canada from Scotland orig.)

I am offended by the cowards who indiscriminately kill civilians anywhere in the world. By the same token as a member of a small and potentially endangered species, so to speak (the Estonian people), I can empathize on a much broader political level with the Irish, because we too have suffered at the hands of larger expansionist powers. Although today's British are not the same generation who once advanced into Ireland, today's British have a special opportunity and an obligation to help clean up the chain reaction of cause and effect set off once upon a time by an ancient (but still unresolved) injustice.

Jüri Estam, Tallinn, Estonia

What kind of rationale, what reasoning for god"s sake, is at work in these people's heads... what are they thinking now??? "ok, how do we kill as many people as possible?..." Is that what they say when planning this? Do they sit around a table and think that this will further their "cause". killing children? is that what it takes. how do they go home and look at their families, how do they live with themselves?. an 18 month old child. My mind is numb, a cliche in Northern Ireland- yes, but it is. I feel sick.

Marty Watson, St. Croix, US. Virgin Islands. (Brought up in Bangor, Co. Down)

Some people feed on contrived social divides, like parasites feed on healthy tissue. Some of those people use this self-deception to justify their selfish and gratuitous acts of savagery. Others give tacit support to the aggressors for fear of offending their own community. All are culpable. Peace and sanity will only prevail when individuals lift their minds clear of the false prophecies and imagined differences, and value all others as much as they value themselves. This is not a religious or spiritual claim - it is the truth ! The corruptors of peoples minds and violators of physical existence must be exposed for the cancer they are, by those nearest to them.

Alexander Temple, Scotland

For peace-yearning Sri Lankan, Northern Ireland Peace process was an exemplary example we would like our war-mongering leaders to follow. We thanked god for the peace in Northern ireland. But this incident make us wonder whether peace is a reality anywhere in the world

Ramathas, Sri Lanka

This is a dreadful crime against humanity but please ensure the peace process continues.

Mike, Brisbane, Australia.

I currently live in Edinburgh but my family still live in N. Ireland. How sick I feel when I hear the news that yet another bombing has taken place in a Country that is so beautiful and full of kind, loving and very friendly people - most of whom just want to live and let live. Those who were involved in the bombing in Omagh on Saturday should be punished severely - and I don't mean just prison! The death sentence would even be far too kind for these people. How many families today are without loved ones just because of religion? We can all be proud of who and what we are without killing others. I come from a mixed family and I love everyone the same - regardless of whether they are Protestant or Catholic. Please pass my sympathy to all those who have suffered yet again in this terrible time. I just wish there was something I could to do help.

Diane, formerly of Co. Antrim, N.Ireland

Just a note to remind everyone who has already condemned the I.R.A. or any splinter groups that at this point in time, we dont know who killed these innocent folks. There are many creatures that will wither and die themselves WHEN peace comes to Northern Ireland. Given the recent murder of the three little boys and the subsequent media treatment, I am certain that there are many extremely unhappy with the way the winds are blowing in Ireland. Please remember that when that awful bomb went off here in Oklahoma, we immediately looked to the Middle East...when in fact was one of our own. PEACE BE WITH YOU

Kim Storey

As a supporter of Irish self determination and the democratic peace process I am shocked and apalled by this dispicable act.

Arthur Costigan Easton, PA USA

I find this bombing the most atrocious thing that man can do to man. There is no cause worth the shedding  of innocent blood. This is not an act of war, it is cowardice at it's worst. It is not the defending of a country, but the murder of innocent men, women, and especially children. My prayers go out to the victims, the survivors and their families. I hope the real I.R.A. will not just condemn this act, but will do everything in it's power to bring those responsible to justice. My furvent hope is that real peace will come to Ireland. I am of Irish descent on my mothers side and I have a love for Ireland even though I have never been there. I hope to visit there some day. I hope when I do there will be a true and lasting peace.   Thank you,

Ben DeBoard Wills Point, TX. U.S.A.

Why can't these murderers be publically hung?

James USA

I'm reading BBC news on a Sunday morning from Sydney, Australia. I am disgusted by what has happened in N. Ireland. How could any human imagine that any political cause could justify such behaviour - it's simply beyond me. I lived in the UK for nearly five years. While living there it never ceased to amaze me how apparently normal, rational people would immediately descend into dogma and hatred when conversation turned to Northern Ireland. There is a great mental sickness in British society, not just among the violent minority, and I wonder if it will ever be cured.

Roland Slee, Australia

This is not the action of a republican person, rather the murder by lunatics of good Irish men, women and children. God protect us all from these anti-Irish nutters.

Brian Sullivan, Cavan, Ireland

I have lived in Texas, USA now for over a year. I come from Derry in Northern Ireland and some day look forward to returning there. Every time something as awful as this happens I wonder why I want to return. My family and I were devastated by what was an absolutely senseless act of evil. I wonder what the people who did this really believe certainly isn't peace. The people of Northern Ireland have suffered long enough and deserve to live now without the fear and threat of events like this. I feel so sad and sorry for the people who were killed and injured needlessly. I am sure no-one would disagree with my sentiment.

Jacqueline Cooke, Texas, USA

Today the latest attempt to bring peace to the people of Northern Ireland died, along with the 21 victims of the worst terrorist outrage on the island. While leaders from Northern Ireland, Great Britain and the Republic have gone into the ritualistic condemnation of this outrage, their words have an unnerving hollowness. The latest slaughter of the innocent, is the consequence of the appeasement of both governments to the terrorists in the last two years. The writing has been on the wall for months. The bombings in Portadown, Moira and Banbridge went without any constructive action taking place. Had the governments ensisted on making decommissioning a prerequisit of any peace deal, the bombs and guns would now be destroyed, but their sheer ineptitude and cowardice means that the blood of the innocent in Omagh is on their hands. As yet we have heard nothing for the Appeaser in Chief, Northern Ireland secretary, Mo Mowlam. We only need to hear two words from Ms.Mowlan; "I resign".

Keith Mills, Dublin, Ireland

As well as continuing with the Peace talks, can we also put into action more effort to put a stop to the casual sale of arms around the world. My thoughts are with the families of the dead and wounded.

J. Brown, USA

The people who carry out these terrorist acts, have no interest in the future of Ireland. They only have interest in their bitter, twisted, outdated views. Its time to stop negotiating with terrorists.

William Butterly, Sydney, Australia

I am the President of Ulster Project- Arlngton. We sponsor 16 teens from Belfast each July. half Catholic, half Protestant with the sole purpose of breading down the barriers that cause this terrible waste of life. Thankfully, none of our teens came from Omagh, but I do know people all over NI and I constantly pray for them all. Someday your children will not have to experience the "troubles"...someday.

Dan Mathys, Arlington, Texas, USA

I now live in Aberdeen and I lived in NI for 20 years...I have seen a lot of hurt in people on both sides of the community and I think that the 'Agreement' means nothing as long as this sort of thing keeps happening. Anyone who thinks there is ever going to be peace in NI is, I am sorry to say, sadly mistaken. As long as there are convicted terrorists doing the negotiating, there may as well be outright war! These people are not in it for the sake of other human beings, do people really think that ex-terrorist are reformed enough to want what is right for the country and not for there 'cause'? Thank you for the opportunity to express my opinion.

Roger Clark

This latest bombing is an outrage! It saddens me when innocent people lose lives and property to terrorists who are only interested in hurting people. Groups using violence to upset the peace process must be cracked down on, however. This must be done while maintaining civil rights. The days of using violence to further anyone's political goals in Northern Ireland must come to an end. It is time for everyone to use the ballot box instead of bombs and bullets. Furthermore, events like this must emphasise how important it is for decommissioning to start soon. All paramilitaries involved in the process have to start handing over their arms. Greater efforts must be made to bring outside groups into this process. My sympathies are with the innocent victims.

Brian Jones. Toronto, Canada

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