Northern Ireland

Family of Omagh victims embark on cycle to remember and raise funds for charity

Mary Grimes was killed in the1998 Omagh bomb along with her daughter Avril (30) who was pregnant with twins and her 18-month-old granddaughter Maura
Mary Grimes was killed in the1998 Omagh bomb along with her daughter Avril (30) who was pregnant with twins and her 18-month-old granddaughter Maura Mary Grimes was killed in the1998 Omagh bomb along with her daughter Avril (30) who was pregnant with twins and her 18-month-old granddaughter Maura

Five sons and two grandsons of one of the victims of the Omagh atrocity are taking part in a more than 200 mile charity cycle from Cork to Tyrone.

Mary Grimes (66) died with her daughter Avril (30) and granddaughter Maura, aged just 18 months and the youngest victim of the August 1998 bombing. Avril was eight months pregnant with twins.

Avril Monaghan
Avril Monaghan Avril Monaghan

The 210-mile cycle from Lismore in Cork to Beragh in Co Tyrone is continuing a journey "made many times by the Grimes family, this time with a very special significance", Fearghal Grimes said. 

Avril was the youngest of 11 children to Mary and Mick Grimes, who died in 2017. 

The three, and the unborn twins, were in Omagh that Saturday to buy Avril's eldest child Aibheann's first school uniform when the bomb went off. It was also Mrs Grimes' birthday.

Fearghal and the other family members are raising money for St Vincent de Paul, the social justice charity fighting against poverty. The fundraiser had raised more than €4,000 as of Sunday afternoon, far surpassing the €500 target.

Avril was the first of the victims to be buried following a service at St MacCartan's Church in Beragh on the Tuesday following the mass murder in August 1998.

At the service, the then Bishop of Clogher, the Most Rev Joseph Duffy, told some 2,000 mourners who packed the church that the Omagh bomb left us "bereaved as a country, north and south, Protestant and Catholic".

He called on people to stand up against "the perverse insanity and deep-seated evil"  that "struck  the heart of an innocent community".

"Our whole future depends on this. Many of us have sinned by apathy and by lack of resolve. Let us use this occasion to stiffen our resolve," Bishop Duffy said.