Omagh remembered: still no justice

I am too young to remember where I was when I heard Kennedy was shot, but I will never forget the growing horror with which I listened to the car radio ten years ago today as I headed south on holidays with Rachel, my then girlfriend and now wife.

The news from Omagh that Saturday afternoon in 1998 was terrible and just got worse. At a time – just months after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement – when we thought Northern Ireland was poised to enjoy the first fruits of peace, we suddenly had an atrocity on a scale greater than any single event of the preceding thirty years, made all the more bitter for its unexpectedness. All of a sudden, dark clouds seemed to gather over our hitherto sunny road to Kerry.

Claire, the wonderful volunteer from Beragh who made our new Belfast Amnesty office tick, lost three members from three generations of her extended family that day. Lost too were any remaining illusions that peace (never mind justice) came with political signatures on paper.

I have previously blogged about Omagh – No justice for the victims of Omagh bombing. And today, it is worthwhile to note that some of the bereaved families boycotted the official memorial service partly as a result of the presence of senior officers from the PSNI and Garda Siochana whom they blame for a botched investigation, and senior Sinn Féin politicians who failed to give a clear call for people to give information to the police investigation into the 'Real IRA' mass-killing.

Truth and justice – both clear human rights for victims of such crimes – remain elusive to this day.

But, for today, I'll conclude by simply drawing your attention to this short but moving BBC audio slideshow.

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