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Omagh Bomb victim’s father hails ‘therapy’ of rememberance event

Stanley McComb, lays flowers at the remembrance garden in Omagh town centre

Stanley McComb, lays flowers at the remembrance garden in Omagh town centre

Sixteen years on from the Omagh Bomb, families of the dead were among those gathered to remember the worst single atrocity of the Troubles.

Representatives of Catholicism, Protestantism and even Judaism congregated in the Co Tyrone town for a 40 minute service honouring the terror victims and their counterparts across the globe.

Michael Gallagher, who lost his 21-year-old son Aidan in the blast, said that although his pain never ends events like this do help to ease the emotional burden he must carry.

He told the News Letter that up to 300 turned out for the service in the Memorial Garden of Light at 3pm today, despite the deeply unpromising weather.

“Miraculously, at that period the rain stopped and we got in and out of the garden dry”, said Mr Gallagher, 64.

“It’s obvious there’s a need for some form of communal remembrance. We’ll go on holding that service as long as there is a need.”

There were readings in Irish, reflecting the lives of those from the Republic who were murdered, and a poem in Spanish for those from Spain who also perished as a result of the explosion on August 15, 1998.

Rabbi David Singer from Belfast’s synagogue also offered a religious reading.

The whole event had been put together by the Omagh Support and Self Help Group – with which Mr Gallagher is involved.

It has been running the ceremony for more than a decade. Previously, it was handled by the council.

Mr Gallagher said: “I believe there is a certain amount of therapy in doing something you believe is good and important. I do believe there is benefit. You do feel better for being involved in that type of support and activity.

“The pain doesn’t go away. But its just good to be among other people who have suffered in a similar way. It’s good to know you’re not on your own”.

 

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