‘Wonderful’ service marks 18 years since Omagh bomb

The Omagh bomb claimed the lives of 29 people and two unborn babies
The Omagh bomb claimed the lives of 29 people and two unborn babies

A special service has taken place in Omagh to mark the 18th anniversary of the most lethal terror attack in Northern Ireland.

On Saturday, August 15, 1998 the Real IRA detonated a car bomb in Omagh, killing 31 and injuring hundreds.

Michael Gallagher, whose son Aiden was killed, said the annual service took place in the town’s dedicated remembrance garden on Sunday.

“We had representatives of the Muslim community and a Rabbi and a whole selection of clergy,” he said.

“It was an event of verse and song and poems, which had an Irish element and a Spanish element to reflect the three nations that were affected - Britain, Ireland and Spain. It was a wonderful all-encompassing service.”

They remembered east Belfast prison officer Adrian Ismay and west Belfast taxi driver Michael McGibbon, both of whom were murdered by republicans this year.

Also remembered were those killed in France, Belgium, Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq since 1998.

Victims Commissioner Judith Thompson attended, as did the CEO of the Victims and Survivors Service, Margaret Bateson, along with representatives of the Irish and UK governments.

Mr Gallagher said he would take Monday - the actual anniversary of the bomb - to spend time with his family.

Nobody has been convicted of the attack, though two men have been sued for damages.