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Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 March, 2004, 15:29 GMT
Omagh solidarity with Madrid
Wrecked carriage
Omagh relatives are showing solidarity with Madrid

The chairman of Omagh District Council has presented the head of the Madrid regional government with a scroll to express the Tyrone town's solidarity with the bombed Spanish city.

Allan Rainey made the presentation in Spain on Wednesday, two days after the council opened a book of condolence for the people killed and injured in the Madrid atrocity.

At least 200 people were killed and more than 1,400 injured in the 10 attacks on commuter trains in the Spanish capital last Thursday.

Mr Rainey said he wanted to bring a message of hope to the people of Spain.

"If they take heed from us that we have recovered, and the lessons we have learned from it, then I believe it will give them great faith and courage, to keep looking forward and looking and searching for that brighter and better day," he said.

Councillors from all parties signed the book of condolence at a special meeting on Monday night to discuss its response to the bombings.

The event was attended by a group of students from northern Spain, who were on a visit to Omagh College of Further and Higher Education.

The book will be available for signing until the end of the month, when it will then be presented in Madrid.

Earlier on Monday, Belfast and Dublin were among the European cities which observed a three minute silence in memory of the victims of the Madrid bombings.

Great Victoria Street, Belfast
Passengers observe the silence before boarding a bus in Belfast

Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern, who is President of the European Council, said the silence demonstrated "our collective sense of solidarity with Spain and its people and our steadfast determination to fight the scourge of terrorism which threatens all of our basic freedoms".

On Sunday, a service was held in Omagh Memorial Garden to remember the victims of the Madrid bombings.

Two Spaniards were among the 29 people and unborn twins murdered when the Real IRA exploded a car bomb in the County Tyrone town.

It was the single worst atrocity in 30 years of violence in Northern Ireland.

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