14/05/2002

Queen pays visit to site of Omagh bombing

The Queen has paid a visit to the site of Omagh bombing during her second day in the province as she continues her Golden Jubilee tour.

Described as a "last minute decision", the unscheduled visit to Omagh saw both the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh visiting the scene of the Real IRA bombing, which on August 1998 killed 29 people and a set of unborn twins - the largest single loss of life during the Troubles.

On arrival in Omagh, the Queen was greeted by the town's Cross Community Youth Choir, before meeting the Duke of Abercorn, the Lord-Lieutenant of County Tyrone. Earlier in the day, the Queen and the Duke also met representatives from various project groups from throughout the province who have received financial support from the New Opportunities Fund.

The Royals then moved on to Loughry College in County Tyrone to attend a garden party in their honour.

Earlier, the Queen travelled to Ballinamallard, where she was greeted by the Earl of Erne, the Lord-Lieutenant of County Fermanagh and visited childcare centre Rascals PlayStation, meeting with children and teenagers from the local community, while Prince Philip visited Fisher Engineering in the town.

The Queen arrived in Northern Ireland on Monday evening with the Duke of Edinburgh as she embarked on her 15th visit to the province. She met with the Northern Ireland Secretary of State Dr John Reid, Assembly First Minister David Trimble and Deputy First Minister Mark Durkan.

There is continued speculation that the Queen may be considering a visit to Dublin for the first time, which would be taken as a new step in Anglo-Irish relations.

(CL/SP)

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