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Omagh stops to remember bomb victims

The scene of devastation shortly after the bomb in Omagh 17 years ago

OMAGH paused yesterday to remember those killed in the Real IRA bomb that rocked the town 17 years ago.

The 1998 atrocity claimed the lives of 29 people, including unborn twins.

An inter-denominational service took place yesterday afternoon at the memorial garden set up in the town to remember victims.

Nobody has ever been convicted of the killings. However, Monaghan man Seamus Daly is to appear in court via video-link tomorrow on 33 charges relating to the incident.

Speakers from all major religious organisations took part in the service.

Music was provided by Leslie Matthews and St Eugene's band.

Cat Wilkinson, a spokeswoman for the organisers said the service "celebrates life whilst acknowledging the suffering that took place and that is still evident today".

“As we reflect on this 17th anniversary we recall the community spirit that was experienced in the aftermath of the bomb that devastated not only our small town but also our lives," she said.

“With neighbour supporting neighbour and the influx of worldwide messages of sympathy this gave strength to our broken hearts to carry on.

“That sense of community spirit is as much alive today as it was 17 years ago.

“It has built a foundation of compassion, empathy and love as we continue to support each other in our community and is a lasting legacy to those most affected."

The 500lb bomb exploded on a busy Saturday afternoon on August 15 1998.

Shoppers from Ireland, Britain and Spain - including nine children and a woman pregnant with twins were among the dead.

Although no criminal conviction has ever come of investigations into the Omagh bomb, Michael McKevitt (65) was found liable for the attack in a civil case taken by relatives.

In 2009, he was ordered to pay a share of £1.6 million in in aggravated damages to victims' families.

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