Omagh victim’s husband: Going to bomb site makes hair stand up on back of my neck

Attending the site of the Omagh bomb still makes the hair stand up on the neck of a man whose wife was killed in the atrocity.

Kevin Skelton, of the victims’ group Families Moving On, said he had received letters from people asking for a memorial event tomorrow marking the 20th anniversary of the attack to be held at the bomb site.

Kevin Skelton at the Memorial Garden in Omagh on Sunday, marking 20 years since the Real IRA bombing

Kevin Skelton at the Memorial Garden in Omagh on Sunday, marking 20 years since the Real IRA bombing

His wife Philomena was one of those killed in the Real IRA atrocity.

“To the best of my knowledge this will be the first official event of remembrance to be held at the bomb site,” Mr Skelton said.

“Some people will not be fit to come because they cannot come up that street yet. I try to do it as little as possible myself.

“There is something about it that makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck.”

He added: “It will be a simple service of reflection involving all four of the main local churches.

“This is a one-off event at the site of the bombing. The town will be closed off.”

Clergy will say prayers and a soloist will sing a hymn.

Then a bell will be rung 32 times – 31 times for those killed by the bomb, including unborn twins – and then once more for all other victims of the Troubles.

A two-minute silence will be followed by Richard Scott, a retired police officer who helped after the explosion, reading a poem by Kevin’s two daughters.

“Then 10 or 12 baskets of white rose petals will be distributed and people will be asked to take one away and either drop it in the nearby river, in the pond in the remembrance garden or to take it home and put it away in a book to keep.”

The service will run from 3-3.40pm. No formal invitations have been issued but it is “open to all” he added.

“This is a day for ordinary people. We also want to remember the emergency services, civilians and taxi drivers who helped in the aftermath.”