Alliance Leader Naomi Long MLA has paid tribute to the bereaved families, the emergency services and the people of Omagh on the 20th anniversary of the Omagh Bomb. She said that the resilience and commitment to reconciliation shown by the families of the Omagh bomb victims is both an inspiration and a challenge to us all to continue to build a peaceful and shared future.
The Real IRA bomb on August 15, 1998 killed 29 people, including a woman pregnant with twins, and injured 220 more, the highest death toll of a single incident during the Troubles.
Mrs Long said: “Today my thoughts are with the families and friends of those who lost their lives and those who were injured in the bombing; the emergency services who responded to the carnage on that day; and with the people of Omagh who have rebuilt both the town and the strong shared community that this act of terror sought to destroy.
“The families themselves led the way in responding with incredible dignity and courage to the awful events of that day and have continued to show that dignity, courage and commitment to peace and reconciliation throughout the last 20 years since the bomb, and I pay tribute to each of them.
“Many of the families still have unanswered questions about the events of that day: today I restate my belief that they should have the opportunity to obtain the answers they seek and to find peace after all these years.
“This was the worst atrocity of an incredibly bloody period in our history. It came at a time when the fragile peace process could also have been destroyed in that blast. Instead, thanks to the courage and leadership shown by the families and the people of Omagh, it brought people together and strengthened the commitment to build a future free of violence and conflict, and one in which the whole community would work together for the greater good.
“That spirit is as vital today, 20 years on, as it was then and the memory of what was lost on that day and of the families’ commitment to reconciliation should inspire and challenge each of us to finish the work of building a shared society.”