“to search for appropriate wording..”

It’s not clear from either this report or this one who has actually appointed them, presumably the Council, but a trio of supernaturalists, led by former Presbyterian moderator the Rev John Dunlop, are to “search for appropriate wording on a shrine to the victims of the Real IRA attack [in Omagh] in 1998.” Omagh Council has been wrangling over the proposed wording on the memorial stone for some time – as the minutes from November 2006 indicate. [Not so with other memorials – Ed] But perhaps the Council could explain what problem they have with the wording mentioned in this November 2006 BBC report

The words proposed [by relatives of the victims] for the monument were to read: “To honour and remember 31 people murdered and hundreds injured from three nations by a dissident republican terrorist car bomb.”

It’s also worth noting that the November 2006 report also quotes Sinn Féin Cllr Sean Clarke, “Omagh council has unanimously agreed to unveil a memorial stone in 2008, to mark the 10th anniversary of the tragedy and the council has also unanimously agreed the wording of the inscription.”

Has anyone seen that “unanimously agreed” wording?

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  • Garibaldy


    Are you using supernaturalists because you consider it more expositional of the absurdity of belief than say theist? Have noticed it a few times now, and was just wondering.

  • susan

    There was disagreement last month between the Omagh Memorial Working Group and the realatives’ Omagh Support and Self Help Group over the best way to go forwards with the wording:


    Perhaps the three churchmen are a compromise. I do not know. I find the term “supernaturalist” a distraction from the main issue. If you are seeking impartiality, perhaps referring them as Coommunity Leaders to whom grieving survivors rightly or wrongly turn to when those they love best are unexpectedly incinerated or maimed for life would suffice.

  • Nevin

    “Cosmo Baker was rescued by the supernaturalists, a small team of three that hunt paranormal creatures …”

    Get over yourself, Pete, and keep your eye on the ball!

    John Dunlop, Brian Lennon and Olive Hobson are the ‘gang of three’.

    “the Head of Arts and Tourism advised that Omagh Support and Self Help Group (OSSHG) had taken a decision to withdraw from the process …

    The Head of Arts and Tourism advised that it was essential engagement took place with the bereaved, the injured and traumatised and the wider community in regard to this issue and that Omagh Memorial Working Group had recommended that this be taken forward by an independent facilitator.” ODC minutes 12 September 2007


  • The Raven

    Ummm…I know I’m the newbie here…and I know I risk the flames of Hell for this next bit, but ummm…930 people lost their jobs yesterday.

    And we’re posting in about what, exactly…?

    Sorry – I obviously need some perspective re-alignment here…my bad…

  • Pete Baker

    It would be a distraction to focus on my use of supernaturalists – which shouldn’t be a surprising use by the way, usually I also link back to this post.

    To the ball, then.

    OSSHG have been very clear about why they have withdrawn from the process – also linked in the original post.

    And it’s also worth noting that no-one has appeared from any quarter, except the OSSHG, to explain what their problem with any proposed wording actually is.

  • veritas

    I think the relative’s choice of wording is fine,they could probably save a few quid on the engraving by omitting the word “dissident” given the obvious desire of sinn fein councillors in omagh to have it changed

  • snakebrain

    Ummm…I know I’m the newbie here…and I know I risk the flames of Hell for this next bit, but ummm…930 people lost their jobs yesterday.

    And we’re posting in about what, exactly…?

    Sorry – I obviously need some perspective re-alignment here…my bad…
    Posted by The Raven on Oct 30, 2007 @ 07:26 PM

    Ah but where’s the cheap laughs in that Raven?

    About time Slugger had an economics correspondent.

  • snakebrain

    Sorry, an economics blogger.

  • veritas

    Surely it is perfectly reasonable to have a thread on this as it was featured on utv news

  • snakebrain


    Of course it’s perfectly reasonable to have a thread on this. The thing is, what’s a bigger story in the scheme of things?

    The inscription on a memorial, or 930 people losing their jobs in our already under-populated private sector?

    Especially given that it happened in one of the less prosperous areas of the province.

  • Nevin

    “With regard to the wording outlined last week, the Chief Executive advised that the specific wording used had never been submitted to the Council or the Memorial Working Group and added that it had been inscribed on a stone in the Memorial Garden without the Council’s approval being sought…

    Councillors Shields and Rainey spoke of occasions when other victims of the Omagh Bomb had advised them that the OSSHG did not represent their views therefore members felt it important that consensus on the memorial needed to be more wide ranging that just meeting the wishes of the support group. Councillor Donnelly expressed the view that the Council had played a leadership role and had given a commitment to follow an open transparent process which he felt should continue with the Council speaking with a corporate voice on the issue.” ODC November minutes

  • veritas

    There is no reason why a jobs thread shouldn’t be opened ,but I guess that is up to the admin people on the site.point is omagh council are looking like dicks on this.

  • snakebrain

    Jobs? I said economics. Not exactly the same thing you know…

  • ulsterfan

    Why are we concerned about what the Council think of the wording?
    Surely the relatives of those killed and injured can decide what they want on the memorial.
    The Council should not have the last say!

  • The Raven

    Sorry – I really didn’t mean to start any dispute on this – truth be told, I was pretty disappointed to come in yesterday and note that there was not even a mention of the Seagate issue on the site.

    No disrespect to those to whom this memorial is important, or to the serious nature of the issue from which it stems.

  • Pete Baker


    A few quick points.

    The quoted minutes are from November 2006.

    “spoke of occasions” – i.e. not necessarily on this particular occasion.

    “with the Council speaking with a corporate voice on the issue.” – i.e. the Chief Executive playing a straight bat, not the councillors answering specific questions about their position on the wording.

  • Garibaldy

    The Ravem is totally right about the need for a Seagate debate, particularly after the programme for government job targets. But he’s also right this isn’t the place for it. Nor perhaps for my first post, on reflection. Pete any chance you could respond to the demands of the audience as you seem to be around?

  • Nevin

    Victims’ families believe the Sinn Fein-dominated Omagh District Council objects to the words “dissident republican car bomb” on a memorial plaque, but Mr Rush said he was opposed to any sort of shrine.

    “I don’t want to be confronted with the death of my wife, I don’t see there is anything to be gained from that,” he said.

    “There are other things that the money could be spent on, a bursary or a scholarship that would be of benefit to the children of the future rather than a monument.

    “I have my monument, my monument is my three children and grandchildren and in the cemetery. If we put one in Omagh it could be vandalised.” Belfast Telegraph 30/10/2007

  • Pete Baker


    That’s not evidence of opposition to the wording.

    It’s opposition to any memorial in Omagh.

    and I see Omagh Council’s Chief Executive, who’s also chair of the Omagh Memorial Working Group, has been put into bat again..

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    First of all I don’t see why the council should have any role in this other than rubber-stamping the relatives wishes.
    Omagh was the worst atrocity of the ‘conflict’ and should be commemerated in whatever way the bereaved see fit.

    The wording is in any case not remotely contentious unless you happen to be associated with a terrorist group beheld of the notion that blowing up town centres was somehow going to free Ireland. Fortunately the majority of republicans have belatedly realised the futility of the ‘armed struggle’ and should therefore have no problem acknowleding the expressed wishes of some of their victims.

    As for Pete’s ‘supernaturalist’ comment, I couldn’t agree more Pete, but it does slightly detract from the subject matter.

    And yes Raven, Seagate does deserve a thread, but job losses cannot in any way be compared with the senseless loss of life in Omagh. The relatives have been shabbily treated from day one, not least in the dismal failure of the powers that be to secure any meaningful convictions and the sickeningly immoral attitude of the republican movement as a whole on the issue.
    The very least these people can expect is a memorial on their own terms.

  • The Raven

    I refer the Honorable Member for Cuba to the answer I gave some moments ago.

    “No disrespect to those to whom this memorial is important, or to the serious nature of the issue from which it stems.”

  • Harry Flashman

    *they could probably save a few quid on the engraving by omitting the word “dissident”*

    My thoughts exactly.

  • Honestly

    Pete, reading your posts makes me want to burn my eyes out with a white hot poker.

    Not only is the subject of your posts boring, they are also just badly written. Boring.

  • Dishonestly

    Went to the doctors the other day, told him “Everytime I poke my finger into my eye it hurts”, he told me “Well dont do it anymore”… Why didnt I think of that?

  • 0b101010

    “also just badly written”

  • Kilian

    With the deepest respect to those who suffered the atrocious act at Omagh, and cognisant of the fact that I am a well removed outsider to their grief, I nonetheless offer the following comment on the wording proposed:

    All of the atrocities during the Troubles have come with spurious and fallacious arguments embedded within their nails, bullets, bats and shrapnel. To greater or lesser degrees these argument have found traction among some,among few, and sadly sometimes among many.

    But none rise further above the parapet of futility more so than Omagh. An act utterly unburdened by right, reason or reverence.

    For this I believe the words “Dissident Republicans” should be removed, and those perpetrators should be named as “Terrorists”, pure and simple.
    That they were once believers in something named Republicanism is irrelevant- that they carried out such murder as an act of dissidence against that ilk, is even more so irrelevant.

    I don’t even know why the ‘car bomb’ is included…it hints that their culpability was somehow lessened by a automotive third party.

    Again, with respect.

  • Nevin

    “With regard to the wording outlined last week, the Chief Executive advised that the specific wording used had never been submitted to the Council or the Memorial Working Group and added that it had been inscribed on a stone in the Memorial Garden without the Council’s approval being sought.” ODC minutes 14/11/2006

    It seems that OSSHG, the organisation that represents some of the victims and their families, had ‘preempted’ the cautious deliberations of the Council and the more broadly based MWG. Also, journalists should be more careful in their use of language on matters of such great sensitivity.

  • missfitz

    I’m loathe to become involved in this, because of my personal knowledge of the situation. I interviewed many of the key players last year when I was writing a report on how we could commemorate the troubles.

    There are layers and layers to this story that are not being represented here, and issues and sensitivities that are similarly not being exposed.

    Grief is a blinding emotion, and there are times when it can push us into a corner.

    While I dont know all of the members of the panel here, I do know Olive Hobson. My heart lifted when I saw she is on the group, because she is a gentle, thoughtful peacemaker, and if she is part of the mediation group then they might make good progress.

    Its important to have a sense of unity ahead of next years commemoration. It would be wasteful to allow bitterness and in-fighting destroy fitting tributes.

    I wish the working group well, and hope there is a good resolution

  • Dave


    I agree with most of your statement.

    I am also far removed from the grief that the families suffer.

    The wording is very important and the term terrorists should be included.

    I thought that (Irish terrorists) would have been more apt as this act was carried out in the name of the Irish.

    Or how about: Murdered on this day (date) by the IRA.

    Or murdered for a lost cause.

    All very sad but lets not forget this, Acar bomd was detonated by terrorists.

  • Dave

    Sorry about the typo error, angry i suppose.

    All very sad but lets not forget this, A car bomb was detonated by terrorists.

  • Nevin

    Missfitz, there are indeed many layers. A relative of mine was drafted in as a counsellor and shortly afterwards had to cope with the tragic death of her own son in a car crash.

    You’d expect the truth to be a fitting tribute but it might be too blunt an instrument, considering the range of sensitivities involved.

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  • missfitz

    This is really dangerous territory, but I will try. The truth is different things to different people. When I went to Omagh to see how they had coped with the aftermath of the bombing, I was hoping to use it as an example of a unified response from a mixed community affected by an atrocity.

    What I guess I found was a human response. There was a wide divergence of opinion on all matters related to the memorial or any other form of commemoration. Indeed, there was even a difference of opinion on who should be commemorated, whether it should just be the dead, or whether the injured should also be included.

    I think that this is a problem that can be fixed. I think that skilled listeners and mediators can help the people go a long way to re-focus on the central issues, and find a way that brings some dignity and closure to this particular episode.

    It isnt simple, that all I want to say, and the issue is not well served by people who dont have the full facts at their possession, trying to insert uninformed opinions.

  • Nevin

    Thanks, Missfitz. I’m a bit surprised that you in any way expected a unified response. Let’s hope the mediators can help negotiate a path through the minefield.

    I’m not from Omagh and I don’t have much of a feel for what is happening in relation to the proposed memorial.

  • Harry Flashman

    Kilian you hit the nail on the head, what initially jarred with me was the use use of the word “dissident” as if that somehow eased the guilt but you’re right it’s the entire weaselly nature of the last clause that is so offensive.

    The maroon coloured Vauxhall Cavalier packed with ammonium nitrate and diesel fuel and a timing device murdered nobody nor had it any political affiliations. The men who put together that combination were the murderers and their motivation was a quite simple political objective; a united 32 county Irish Republic.

    It’s almost like having a monument to the victims of the Shankill Butchers which described them as being murdered by “psychopathic loyalist meat cleavers” or the victims of the Twin Towers attack killed by “Wahabbist Islamic low flying jet airliners”.

    Either name the sort of people who murdered the victims properly or don’t ascribe any guilt at all, anything but the horrible nonsense suggested.

  • veritas

    I am not sure if this is even a good idea but rather than commemorate the death of 31 innocents-to thank God for the lives of those tragically cut short by terrorists in omagh on 15 08 98-just a different angle.

  • interested

    Just one point of factual information which might help this debate.

    Check out the membership of the Omagh Memorial Working Group – there are actually no Councillors who sit as members of that group.

  • bertie

    What the victims wants should be the default option. Unfortunately it rarely is. I hope that they get what they want.