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Tuesday, 15 August, 2000, 21:32 GMT 22:32 UK
Omagh bomb victims remembered
Remembering those who died in worst Troubles atrocity
Remembering those who died in worst Troubles atrocity
An act of remembrance for those killed and injured in the Omagh bombing has been held on the second anniversary of the atrocity.

Some of those injured and bereaved, politicians and representatives from the Republic of Ireland and Spain attended the service and wreath-laying ceremony in Omagh's Garden of Remembrance on Tuesday afternoon.

Twenty-nine people were killed and hundreds injured by the 500lb car bomb left in Omagh, County Tyrone, on 15 August 1998.

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

The attack on Omagh's Market Street on a busy shopping day was the worst single atrocity in the history of the Northern Ireland Troubles.

Church bells tolled and a minute's silence was held at 1510 BST to mark the time of the explosion.

Survivor Donna Marie McGillion: Painful memories
Survivor Donna Marie McGillion: Painful memories
Addressing the assembled crowd of nearly 1000 people, Chairman of Omagh District Council Liam McQuaid thanked those who had travelled to show solidarity with the people of Omagh.

The Spanish consul to the UK and Northern Ireland and representatives of Buncrana District Council attended the service.

They were among the first to lay wreaths to remember Madrid and Donegal pupils killed while on a trip to the Ulster American Folk Park in Omagh.

The Spanish teacher who had accompanied them on that day also laid a wreath.

'Inquest will test resilience'

Mr McQuaid said the "dastardly attack on that dark Saturday had linked Omagh with Madrid and Buncrana forever".

He said that the people of the town had gained some comfort from the physical signs of its rebuilding after the blast.

Omagh District Council chairman
Liam McQuaid: Time to build future for young people
But he said that while the "bereaved and injured had born their pain and anger with fortitude, their resilience would be tested to the limit" when the Omagh bombing inquest starts in the town on 6 September.

He said the community must continue to give them support.

And he added that across Northern Ireland, "all must play a part in creating a brighter future for our young people".

Local clergy jointly led the crowd in prayer and hymns were also sung at the interdenominational service.

It evoked strong emotions in many of those assembled.

Sinn Fein chairman Pat Doherty and Ulster Unionist MP William Thompson were among those who attended. A memorial service was also held in Buncrana, the home of three of the young boys killed.

Information appeals

On Tuesday, Northern Ireland security minister Adam Ingram renewed calls made by UK prime minister Tony Blair and Taoiseach Bertie Ahern for people to come forward with fresh information about the Omagh bombing.

Some bereaved relatives had asked the two governments to make the appeal and to set up a joint RUC-Garda taskforce to cut through the red tape they believe is hampering the investigation.

The bomb explored in Omagh town centre
The bomb explored in Omagh town centre
But Sinn Fein assemblyman Gerry Kelly said his party would not ask anyone to co-operate with the police investigation into the attack.

He said because the RUC was not an impartial force, he would not ask anyone to go to them.

But he called on people to unite against dissident terrorists who are trying to wreck the peace process.

"The best way to deal with it is to make politics work and take the credibility way from the people who would do this," he said.

Eighteen adults including two pregnant women and 11 children died in the attack.

Victims face inquest

Kevin Skelton, whose wife of 20 years, Philomena, died in the atrocity and whose daughters, Paula, Tracey and Shauna, were injured, said facing the inquest was hard.

"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."

The BBC's David Eades
"These have been two long and painful years for the people of Omagh"
Father of victim, Victor Barker
"I have no criticism whatsoever of the police operation"
Northern Ireland Security Minister, Adam Ingram
"Both governments are determined to find those responsible"
Click here for the full special report

Ombudsman report

Bomb trial verdict

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