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Tuesday, August 10, 1999 Published at 08:02 GMT 09:02 UK

Special Report

Make Omagh last tragedy mothers appeal

Bernie Doherty: Every day is hard

On Sunday, the mothers of three young boys will remember the tragic day their sons travelled to Omagh on a day trip.

Oran Doherty, eight and his friends James Barker and Sean McLoughlin, both 12, from the seaside town of Buncrana were killed in the Real IRA bombing of Omagh on August 15.

Donna Barker: I hope there will never be another Omagh
Two Spanish students, Fernando Blasco Baselga, 12 and Rocio Abad Ramos, 23 who were part of the Spanish-Irish exchange group also died on their way to visit the Ulster American Folk Park in Northern Ireland.

On Sunday 15 August the whole town of Buncrana will commemorate the deaths of the three lively young children and the 26 other people killed, on the anniversary of the Omagh bombing.

The Search for Peace
But their mothers have told BBC Northern Ireland about their continuing pain and frustration that the Northern Ireland political process has not delivered a new peace.

Bernie Doherty thinks about Oran when she opens her eyes in the morning and when she closes them at night.

She said: "It has been a long hard road since last August but at the same time it only seems like yesterday that he was here alive and full of life and fun.

[ image: Oran Doherty: Only photographs and memories remain]
Oran Doherty: Only photographs and memories remain
"It is hard to think that he's just never going to be here again."

The mother of Sean McLaughlin said the year has been a catalogue of pain.

"First there was Christmas, then he was supposed to make his confirmation, and his 13th birthday and breaking up from school and the Spaniards going home and now his anniversary.

"You just wish it was over and done with," she said.

[ image: Sean McLaughlin was full of life and fun]
Sean McLaughlin was full of life and fun
There is a great deal of anger in Buncrana that the dissident republican bombers were never caught.

But the parents of the dead children are desperately frustrated that the politicians have not come to an agreement which would push tragedies like Omagh further away.

Mrs McLaughlin said: "I would tell need the politicians to get their finger out. They have to do something.

"They have to put an end to it no matter how they do it. It has to stop. The innocent people of Ireland don't want fighting."

Mrs Mclaughlin: The politicians must put a stop to this
The mother of James Barker, Donna Marie Barker said she is still filled with anger at the people who decided to take her son's life.

She said: "I'm angry and enraged about it all. How have these people got the right to take my son's life? Every waking morning I still have the same feeling of anger.

"I feel my son has died in vain. Everybody said Omagh was the turning point and I feel that if Jim died for peace I maybe I could accept it, but I can't see no peace in this country for along long time.

"I hope that there will never been another Omagh."

[ image: Donna Marie Barker: My son died in vain]
Donna Marie Barker: My son died in vain
One ray of hope in the town was the return of a Spanish exchange group to Buncrana despite the deaths of two of their group last year.

Father Shane Bradley, who ministered at the funerals of the three children said the community was heartened when the Spanish group courageously returned in July.

He said: "I think they carry the memories in their hearts of their own bereaved and their own here in Buncrana.

"The leader has been very anxious to express her gratitude to the people here and in Omagh for the outpouring of kindness over the year."

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Northern Ireland



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