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The BBC's John Thorne in Omagh
"Two years on the community is divided about its future priorities"
 real 56k

Father of victim, Victor Barker
"I have no criticism whatsoever of the police operation"
 real 28k

Northern Ireland Security Minister, Adam Ingram
"Both governments are determined to find those responsible"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 15 August, 2000, 04:39 GMT 05:39 UK
Omagh victims remembered
Omagh bombing
The bombing was the single worst atrocity in Troubles
An act of remembrance has been held for those killed in the Omagh bomb.

Twenty-nine people were killed and hundreds injured by the explosion in Omagh, County Tyrone, on 15 August 1998.

The bomb was planted by the Real IRA, a dissident republican faction opposed to the Good Friday Agreement, which had been signed four months earlier.

The Omagh bomb was the worst single atrocity in the history of Northern Ireland's "Troubles".

On Monday, Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern called for people to come forward with fresh information about the Omagh bombing.

Speaking on the eve of the second anniversary of the attack the two prime ministers voiced regret that more charges had not resulted from the outrage.

In a joint statement, the British prime minister and the Irish Taoiseach said that justice demanded that those responsible "for the horror that was Omagh" be brought before the courts.

The two leaders described the bombing as "one of the darkest in the history of the Troubles".

The bomb explored in Omagh town centre
The bomb explored in Omagh town centre
Eighteen adults and 11 children died in the attack.

People will gather for an act of remembrance at 1509 BST on Tuesday, approximately the time the 500lb car bomb exploded.

Wreaths will also be laid in the Garden of Remembrance by the chairman of Omagh District Council, Liam McQuaid, and Protestant and Catholic church bells across the town will chime before a minute's silence.

Kevin Skelton, whose wife of 20 years, Philomena, died in the atrocity and whose daughters, Paula, Tracey and Shauna, were injured, said he believed the service "will be a low-key affair".

Mr Skelton said: "I think there is a sense in Omagh that it is time for the town to move on and for people to get on with their lives.

"However, with the inquest only around the corner, the next few weeks are not going to be easy. People are going to learn a lot more about the circumstances of their loved ones' deaths."

Mr Skelton said he admired the resilience of many in Omagh - particularly his daughters and other young people caught in the blast.

Inquest into bombing

Democratic Unionist Party assemblyman Oliver Gibson, whose 36-year-old niece, Esther, was killed, said he believed it and other incidents have had a "ripple effect".

Mr Gibson said: "The bomb intercepted in Londonderry, the recent explosion in Stewartstown, even the attacks on homes over the last few days by loyalists and republicans in Belfast and the 24 or so bomb scares in this town all have an impact."

Tony Blair
Tony Blair: Bombing one of the darkest days of Troubles
"They are chilling, they gnaw away at people - especially those who hoped Omagh would be the last atrocity - because they serve as a daily reminder that the potential for something like this remains."

Mr Gibson said he believed the bomb had unified the town like no other.

"Over the past 30 years of violence, there has been 37 bombs affecting the town - many of which involved members of the security forces," he said.

"The last bomb was different in that the grief was shared. Catholics visited Protestant homes and vice versa and they both understood the trauma, the despair and the grief that each other was going through."

An inquest into the bombing is due to open on 6 September in Omagh.

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Preparation starts for Omagh inquest
22 Jun 00 | Northern Ireland
Date for Omagh bomb hearing
25 Jul 00 | Northern Ireland
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