Day 3

Monday 17th

Omagh District Council

Omagh District Councillors held an emergency meeting on Monday as the community struggled to come to terms with the tragedy. A trust fund was set up with the First Trust Bank in the town's High Street. Books of condolences were opened in every village in the council area and in many local churches. 

Volunteers arrive to help

Volunteers from all over the province and from the South of Ireland arrived at the hospitals that were treating the injured to offer help. Spanish doctors flew into Northern Ireland with relatives of the injured to work along side hospital staff. The Spanish Deputy Prime Minister Francisco Alvarez Cascos also arrived. Omagh District Council officers and church leaders meet in Armagh. Among the church leaders were the Catholic primate Dr Sean Brady, Methodist President the Rev David Kerr, Presbyterian Moderator Dr John Dixon and Church of Ireland primate Dr Robin Eames. They called on people throughout the country to attend services of remembrance exactly a week after the massacre. Those unable to attend the church services were asked to stop and pray at exactly 3.10pm. the time the bomb exploded.

Message from Pope John Paul II

The Pope prayed for those who lost their lives in the bombing, and urged people to keep their faith in the peace process. "I hope for the dear island that the people of goodwill will not yield to violence." He called the bombing "tragic and nonsensical" and evoked eternal rest for those who died.

IRA statement

Late on Monday night the Real IRA claimed resposibity for the bomb. In a statement they claimed they never intended to kill civilians and that their target had been a commercial one. The statement was greeted with universal disbelief and contempt. In a press release containing this photograph of the bombsite the police confirmed that 27 of the deceased have been identified.

The three Donegal boys are taken home

Late on Monday night the sad journey of the three Donegal children killed in the bomb started from Omagh. The cortege was accompanied by the then RUC to the border. The three hearses were met at Bridgend by a Garda escort. Both sets of officers saluted as the bodies crossed the border on their final journey home. Buncrana came to a standstill just after midnight where many of the town's 4,000-strong population watched and wept as the hearses arrived.