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Thursday, 15 August, 2002, 12:26 GMT 13:26 UK
Omagh remembers bomb victims
The scene of the Omagh bomb
The Omagh bomb left 29 people dead
Senior police officers and relatives of those who died in the Omagh bombing were among those commemorating the fourth anniversary of the atrocity.

A short cross-community service was held in the memorial garden near the scene of the Real IRA attack on Thursday.

The importance of anniversaries at a community level is that they do mark time

David Bolton
Omagh Trauma Centre

Twenty-nine men, women and children died and hundreds were injured when a car bomb exploded on Saturday 15 August 1998 - as the County Tyrone town was full of shoppers.

Shops and businesses closed for the duration of the service and people left flowers at the memorial garden.

The service included a statement of people's desire for the "scales of justice to be reset" over the atrocity.

Those attending also heard a tribute being paid to the victims of 11 September attacks in America.

Service is being held in memorial garden
The service was held in the memorial garden

David Bolton, who managed the Omagh Trauma Centre, said it was important to mark the day.

"I often feel, however, that for those who have suffered most grievously, any day could be an anniversary," he said.

"But the importance of anniversaries at a community level is that they do mark time.

"I think we do see four years on from the tragedy, significant progress and changes being made in the life of the community, and also thankfully in the lives of many individuals."

The past year has seen a number of significant developments, including the confirmation of a civil legal action against five men relatives allege were involved in the bombing.

Last month, solicitors acting for the relatives went to a prison in the Republic of Ireland to serve writs on three men they accuse of involvement in the atrocity.

Writs were also left at the homes near Dundalk in County Louth of two other men alleged to have been involved in the 1998 attack.

The action is being taken on behalf of the Omagh Victims Legal Trust and is the first step in a civil case against the five men.

Detective Superintendent Norman Baxter
Detective Superintendent Norman Baxter: Leading the investigation into the bombing

Those named can ignore the civil legal action but the families can proceed with their case in open court.

If the court rules in favour of the families, the suspects face losing their personal assets.

There has also been a critical report by the Police Ombudsman into the handling of the police investigation.

On Wednesday, it was confirmed that an unidentified second family has joined Laurence Rush - whose wife was killed in the explosion - in taking legal action against the government and police, claiming not enough was done to prevent or investigate the bombing.

The detective now in charge of the police investigation, Superintendent Norman Baxter, has said everything possible would be done to bring those behind the bombing to justice.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC NI's Chris Capper:
"The focus of today is to remember and seek justice"
BBC NI's Chris Capper:
"There have been significant developments since last year's memorial service"
Click here for the full special report

Ombudsman report

Bomb trial verdict

Archive - the blast:

PANORAMA
See also:

14 Aug 02 | N Ireland
26 Jul 02 | N Ireland
25 Jul 02 | N Ireland
25 Apr 02 | N Ireland
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