Omagh bomb remembrance service to be held

Omagh bomb sceneImage copyright

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Twenty-nine people, including a woman pregnant with twins, were killed in the 1998 attack

A remembrance service is due to take place later, ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Omagh bombing.

The event will take place in the town’s Memorial Garden.

Twenty-nine people – including a woman pregnant with twins – were killed in a car bomb attack in the County Tyrone town in 1998.

It was carried out by the dissident republican Real IRA, several months after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.

The interdenominational service will feature the Omagh Community Youth Choir and include a song specially composed by its musical director, Daryl Simpson.

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The service is due to take place in the Memorial Garden in Omagh

Michael Gallagher is chairman of the Omagh Support and Self Help Group which is organising the service.

His 21-year-old son, Aiden, was among those killed in the blast.

Mr Gallagher said he had no doubt that the “people of Omagh and beyond” would “come out and show solidarity with the families” on Sunday.

“We have had tremendous support and it is testimony that we are here today as a result of that support,” Mr Gallagher said.

“We would say to everyone ‘please come’, and I am sure you will get something from this service.

“We will try and bring an atmosphere of calm and we are having some special guests that will add to that.”

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Michael Gallagher said he believed the people of Omagh would show solidarity with the families

The Omagh bombing inflicted the greatest single loss of life of any terror atrocity in the history of the Northern Ireland Troubles.

The bomb packed with 225kg of explosives detonated in a vehicle parked in the middle of the main street just after 15:10 BST on 15 August 1998.

A warning had been called in 40 minutes earlier but had given the wrong location of the car containing the bomb.

The dead included three generations of one family.

No-one has been convicted over the bombing.

Omagh bomb timeline

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Last year, relatives of the victims announced they would sue the PSNI’s chief constable for failings they believed allowed the killers to escape justice.

A separate legal challenge to the government’s refusal to hold a public inquiry into the bombing has been pushed back to 2019.

On Wednesday, the 20th anniversary of the bombing is due to be marked in the town by a public vigil of “remembrance and hope”.

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