Catholic and Protestant church bells rang through Omagh yesterday, before a minute's silence at nine minutes past three, on the second anniversary of the bombing. Relatives of those injured and bereaved, politicians and representatives from the Republic of Ireland and Spain attended the service and wreath-laying ceremony in Omagh's Garden of Remembrance. The chairman of Omagh district council, Liam McQuaid, welcomed those who had travelled to show solidarity with the people of Omagh. The Spanish consul to the UK and Northern Ireland and representatives of Buncrana district council attended were among the first to lay wreaths to remember Madrid and Donegal pupils killed while on a trip to the Ulster American Folk Park in Omagh. The Spanish teacher who had accompanied them on that day also laid a wreath. In the worst single atrocity in the history of the troubles in Ireland, 18 adults and 11 children were killed and hundreds injured by the explosion that took place in the centre of the town. The bomb was planted by the Real IRA, a dissident republican faction opposed to the Good Friday Agreement which had been signed four months earlier. No one has has yet been charged with the crime. An inquest into the bombing is due to start on 6 September. Democratic Unionist Party assemblyman Oliver Gibson, whose 36-year-old niece, Esther, was killed, said he believed the bomb had brought Protestants and Catholics together. He said: "Over the past 30 years of violence, there have been 37 bombs affecting the town - many of which involved members of the security forces. "The last bomb was different in that the grief was shared. Catholics visited Protestant homes and vice versa and they both understood the trauma, the despair and the grief that each other was going through."
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