People across Donegal are expected to take part in plans to mark the 20th anniversary of the Omagh bomb which has now been finalised.
Thirty-one lives were lost in the atrocity on August 15th, 1998 when a bomb ripped through the heart of the Co Tyrone town.
The fall-out from the bomb was felt in Donegal with three young Inishowen students also losing their lives after going on a trip to the town when the blast was detonated.
The three boys were, Oran Doherty (8), Sean McLaughlin (12) and James Barker (12). They were among 10 local children who went on a trip to Omagh with more than 30 Spanish students.
The annual Remembrance Service will be held in the Memorial Garden at Drumragh Avenue starting at 3pm on Sunday, August 12 while a public reflective event will take place three days later, on the actual bomb site on Market Street on date of the anniversary itself, Wednesday, August 15
This inter-denominational service will be accompanied by the Omagh Community Youth Choir and will include a song especially composed for this service by choir mnusical director, Daryl Simpson. Local singer Leslie Matthews and St. Eugene’s Band will also provide musical interludes.
In the statement announcing the details Omagh Support and Self-Help group chairman, Michael Gallagher, whose son Aiden (21) was killed in the bomb felt this event would be a significant milestone for the community and those deeply affected.
“Communal prayer and solidarity is important not just for the victims and survivors of Omagh, but as an expression of cohesion in a world that unfortunately is infused with violent extremism,” he said.
The statement also revealed that a public reflective event will then take place three days later, on Wednesday, August 15, at 2.55pm, at the bottom of Market Street in Omagh to mark the precise moment 20 years on from the atrocity itself.
For many people, August 15, 1998 at 3.10pm changed their lives forever. This event will mark the atrocity through a vigil of public remembrance and hope.
This short service which will be led by Omagh Churches Forum will be opened with a short prayer, followed by the ringing of a bell 32 times to reflect the 31 lives lost in Omagh and an additional ring in remembrance of all those who have and continue to lose their lives through such atrocities the world over. The bell will stop ringing at precisely 3.10pm to mark the exact moment of the explosion.
A local artist will sing a short piece, after which the public will be invited to receive flower petals which they can scatter into the river or place in the pond in the Memorial Garden. The event will finish at 3.20pm at which point the public will be invited to disperse. Omagh Churches Forum and the 20th anniversary working group invite the public to come along. Local businesses and employees are encouraged to come along, or to have a two-minute silence at 3.10pm.
These events are being organized and co-ordinated by a group of organisations, including Omagh Support and Self Help Group, Families Moving On and the Omagh Churches’ Forum. They have been brought together with the assistance of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council.
Throughout the anniversary week in August, quiet spaces for reflection will be open in a range of locations across the town. These will include several of the groups and churches represented in the Omagh Churches Forum, the WAVE Trauma Centre and in the Library headquarters which are all open to the public. People are welcome to visit these venues, if they chose to.
Further information on events will be made available on a Facebook events page, called ‘Omagh 20th Remembrance’.
The statement acknowledged and thanked the Victims and Survivors Service, the Irish government’s Department of Foreign Affairs, Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, local businesses and the generous public for their contributions towards these events.