There must be no more Omaghs
YESTERDAY marked the 20th anniversary commemoration of the Omagh bombing which took the lives of 29 people including a woman pregnant with twins. It was one of the worst atrocities during the violence which claimed thousands of lives over three decades.
Apart from the huge loss of life what shocked many people was the fact that most of the main paramilitary organisations had signed up to ceasefires at the time. Although there had been signs of dissension the events at Omagh on that terrible Saturday stunned everyone.
Yesterday a relative of one of the victims said the lesson of such atrocities should be that shooting and bombing people will not advance the aims of the organisations which carry out such attacks.
The truth of his words are borne out by the fact that various dissident republican groups have achieved nothing in the 20 years since the bombing. The only consequence of their actions has been deaths, injuries and the incarceration of many young men and women.
This is the last annual commemoration of the atrocity, with plans for a five-yearly ceremony from here on. But that change will not mean that people forget the victims.
Sadly there are still elements in our society who cling to the belief that they are entitled to use force to advance their political aims.
The rest of society must keep hammering home the message that their actions are wrong. Not only are they wrong, they are ineffective and they only thing they result in is misery, for their victims and for the many people who end up going to jail.
We must as a society strive to make sure these groups know they are not representative and more importantly we must do all in our power to make sure there are no more Omaghs.