Page last updated at 18:19 GMT, Friday, 15 August 2008 19:19 UK

Event remembers atrocity victims


The town paid tribute to the victims of the atrocity

A minute's silence has been held in Omagh at 1510 BST to mark the time a Real IRA car bomb killed 29 people.

A memorial service was held on the 10th anniversary of the attack, the worst single atrocity of the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

Some relatives boycotted Friday's service in the town following a row over how the memorial is worded.

Michael Gallagher, whose son, Aiden, died in the blast, said moving on with life has been "very difficult".

"When I look at Aiden's friends and I see some of them married and have a family, I would imagine that would have been the way Aiden was," he said.

"Life would have been very different for all of us."

Eight-year-old Oran Doherty, from Buncrana, also died in the blast. His mother, Bernie, said the run-up to the anniversary brought back memories of the aftermath.

"It sort of brought it all back to the surface, at the same time I had got on with my life - I suppose I had to, you see, having older children - but especially for the younger children," she said.

"At the time you just couldn't sit about and feel sorry for yourself."

The killers have never been caught and police have faced criticism over their handling of the investigation.

Woman looking at Omagh memorial

Some relatives of the victims are unhappy with the way Omagh District Council has decided to word inscriptions on the memorials at the bomb site in Market Street and at the nearby Garden of Remembrance, because they claim it does not properly acknowledge who was behind the attack.

The memorial at the bomb site does not mention the perpetrators and text at the garden says the victims were "murdered by a dissident republican car bomb" - but the phrase is placed in inverted commas and attributed to the Omagh Support and Self Help group.

The families claim this indicates the Sinn Fein-dominated council is not prepared to acknowledge republicans were responsible for the atrocity.

However, the council has defended its decision, saying the memorials were recommended by an independent fact-finding group.

Omagh Support and Self Help is holding its own alternative commemoration event on Sunday.

Minute's silence

Friday's council memorial involved a 45-minute ceremony beside the newly-built memorial garden, which is close to the bomb site.

Stormont Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and Irish Taoiseach Brian Cowen attended and former Lebanon hostage Terry Waite addressed the crowd.

Representatives from the Spanish government were also there to remember an exchange student and youth leader from Madrid who died in the bombing.

Those taking part paused for a minute's silence at 3.10pm - the time the 500lb car bomb exploded 10 years ago.

A new "garden of light" was opened and a glass obelisk memorial at the bomb site unveiled.

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