Category: Archive

Attack claims 3 generations

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Harry Keaney

Three generations of a County Tyrone family, on a shopping trip to Omagh, were among those killed in Saturday afternoon’s car bomb in the town.

They were Mary Grimes, 65, her pregnant daughter, Avril Monaghan, 30, expecting twins in eight weeks, and Grimes’s granddaughter Maura, 18 months.

Mrs. Monaghan had three other children, all under 6.

Saturday was the Feast of Assumption, traditionally a day when many parents would go shopping for school uniforms for their children. The area where the bomb went off was packed with shoppers.

Widowers Michael Monaghan, 32, and Michael Grimes, who is in his late 60s, were united in their grief in the aftermath of the atrocity. Monaghan was too upset to talk to journalists, but his brother Brendan, talking to the Irish Independent outside the family home, said that Avril and her mother, Mary, had been more like sisters than mother and daughter. Describing Avril, he said, "she was just a very nice person."

Sign up to The Irish Echo Newsletter

Also killed in the blast was a mother of four who had been on a back-to-school shopping trip to buy shoes for her daughter’s return to school.

Mena Skelton, 39, from the village of Drumquin, eight miles from Omagh, was killed in the blast, which also injured her 12-year-old daughter. Skelton had traveled to Omagh with her husband, Kevin, and daughters Tracey, 15, Paula, 19, and Shauna, 12, also to do some back-to-school shopping.

Kevin Skelton, a GAA official in Tyrone, wept as he spoke of losing his wife of 20 years. He said he was in Mr. G’s Store while the rest of his family shopped in SD Kells, feet away from where the bomb was planted. He was coming out of the store when the car bomb, believed to contain about 500 pounds of explosives, detonated.

"I didn’t know where they were. We went to what was left of Kells window," Skelton said. "And there she was, my wife, lying on the floor with her clothes blown away. I thought I saw her shoes lying under the rubble. I don’t know. I tried to find her pulse but I couldn’t and then two policemen grabbed me and took me away.

"I’m as good an Irishman as the next, but this is awful. Don’t tell me these ones are doing this for something. I’ll never get over it."

Other Articles You Might Like

Sign up to our Daily Newsletter

Click to access the login or register cheese