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Thursday, August 12, 1999 Published at 10:56 GMT 11:56 UK

Special Report

Omagh rebuilds for brighter future

The Market Street site is being rebuilt after last year's blast

Shopkeepers whose businesses were shattered in the Omagh blast are now attempting to rebuild their premises and the town's image.

The scene on Market Street where the Real IRA bomb exploded last August is now a building site.

The Search for Peace
Among the buildings destroyed was Jim Sharkey's newsagency.

BBC's Ireland Correspondent Denis Murray reports on the victims of Omagh bombing
Mr Sharkey, who was injured by the blast, says: "My life has changed completely, I had a good wee business up there. I was happy enough and I had plenty of friends.

"This street was a wild friendly wee street."

Trade has recovered in the area according to those still in business on Market Street.

[ image: Patrick Bogues : town will recover when rebuilding is complete]
Patrick Bogues : town will recover when rebuilding is complete
But Patrick Bogues, who owns two jewellery businesses, believes a full recovery will only happen when the buildings which were destroyed are replaced and the town looks like it used to before the blast.

He said: "We're now associated with this event throughout the world.

"On the one hand it's given us a lot of publicity and attention but on the other hand we don't always want to be known as the town where the big bomb was."

Promoting a new image of Omagh which addresses that attitude is the priority of newly appointed Town Centre Manager, Shane Campbell.

While remembering the past is important, looking forward is vital, he says.

Recovery 'on target'

One of the measures in this plan to promote positive images of Omagh is an international summer school to be held after the first anniversary of the blast.

[ image: John McKinney:
John McKinney:"we're getting there."
The town's chief executive, John McKinney, believes Omagh's recovery is on target.

"We're never where we'd like to be - but we're getting there."

He would like the rebuilding of Market Street to be further advanced though ensuring all the compensation has been paid and all the people are united in their aims is not easy.

"It's a difficult task - but I'm confident it will proceed and that it will provide a whole new focus for Omagh."

[ image: Bomb victim is remembered by her boyfriend]
Bomb victim is remembered by her boyfriend
Traffic continues to flow past the site of the explosion on Market Street which has been a focus for sympathy since last August.

One of the most poignant messages at the makeshift memorial is a letter to bomb victim Esther Gibson from her fiancée.

She was meant to be married on her birthday during July.

The note from her fiancée reads:
I know we will not be married today but we are linked by a love no parting can sever,

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Regions Contents


Northern Ireland



Relevant Stories

11 Aug 99 | Northern Ireland
Omagh's legacy of trauma after bombing

10 Aug 99 | Northern Ireland
Make Omagh last tragedy mothers appeal

09 Aug 99 | Northern Ireland
Looking back with sorrow

05 Sep 98 | Latest News
Omagh bomb claims 29th victim

18 Aug 98 | Latest News
Real IRA apologise for Omagh bomb

Internet Links

Omagh District Council

Ulster Herald

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

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