21 years on and hurt continues

IT’S 21 years since Betty Gilchrist was told her husband Ossie would not be coming home.

The 60 year-old, from Magherafelt, says she would not wish those 21 years on anyone.

“I would say that it has actually gotten worse as I have gotten older,” she told the MAIL.

“I see couples who are growing old together, going on holidays, enjoying retirement, doing the things that married couples are supposed to be doing as they get older. I was robbed of that.”

“Ossie would have been retiring last July, he would have got his pension then. No-one is ever going to get that back for me.”

Oswald, 44, was murdered along with seven of his work colleagues as he travelled home from repairing Lisanelly army base in Omagh on January 17th 1992. Six others were seriously injured in the attack.

He died on January 21st, days after the IRA land mine detonated as work van approached Teebane crossroads between Omagh and Cookstown.

He had been driving the van home, packed with 13 of his fellow work colleagues, from the army base which they had been repairing, when he received fatal injuries from the explosion.

Although the Provisional IRA claimed responsibility for the murders no-one has been convicted for the atrocity.

The heartbroken widow says she has lost hope for anyone being convicted for the massacre.

“I honestly don’t think anyone will ever be convicted,” she said.

“They have the fingerprints, the low copy DNA. You would think that would be enough to convict someone.”

“I can’t see what else can be done.”

Betty said that even a new investigation into the County Tyrone atrocity would bring little comfort to those families who are still suffering, like her, today.

“The only thing a new investigation would do us raise up hopes for the families, raising you up to let you down again,” she said.

“And I can’t take that any longer.”