By Patrick Markey
Four months after a car bomb devastated Omagh city, financial relief efforts in New York City have surpassed the intended target of $100,000, organizers said last week.
After the second fund-raising event at Gaelic Park in the Bronx, the New York Omagh Relief Fund had topped $94,000, and a final event in Gallagher’s in Manhattan last week raised another $25,000, according to Ann Donnelly, one of the fund organizers.
The total already in the bank now stands at $119,000, with another $9,000 in pledged donations, Donnelly said.
The Bronx event raised more than $50,000, and the first fund-raising event, held in Woodside, Queens, in October, pulled in $25,000. Initially, organizers had expected to raise a total of about $50,000.
"The community has been very supportive and we’ve been very surprised and delighted by the reaction," Donnelly said.
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One woman who has added more than her fair share of effort to the fund-raising is Kerry native Debbie Phelan. A mother of one — 3-year-old Conor — Phelan ran the recent New York marathon and donated her $4,000 sponsorship to the Omagh fund.
Phelan, who says she runs occasionally to keep fit, managed to complete her first attempt at the grueling 26 miles, 385 yards in 3 hours and 51 minutes. She had applied to run before, but was only accepted this year, she said.
"I thought it was going to be worse than it was," the Queens bartender said.
"The crowd helped a lot, though, cheering people on."
All funds are passed on to the Omagh Relief Fund established in Tyrone by the Omagh City Council.