Omagh survivors assist Australian counterparts

By Peter Kelly
Victims of the Omagh bombing have reached out at a critical time to support campaigning terrorism survivors in Australia.
Those affected by the 2002 Bali bombing have been campaigning for a Memorial Peace Park to be built on the site of the attacks which killed 202 people including 88 Australians.  Difficulties regarding the land cost and property at the site have frustrated plans for a permanent memorial for 17 years.  It is understood that negotiations are in a delicate and final phase.
Contacted by the Bali Peace Park Association in Perth, Omagh victims spokesman Michael Gallagher spoke of his long standing support of the Australian families’ quest to build a memorial on the site and his comradeship with the group.  Pressure from UK survivors from Bali has also increased in recent weeks.
Pointing to the Omagh group’s successes in lobbying governments, together with their own celebrated memorials in the town, Mr Gallagher said “it’s important that victims share knowledge and tactics with each other globally.  We must support each other because that’s what terrorists do too.”  He added. “alone we may have limited achievements, but together we can achieve a great deal and it is an honour to work with them.”
Kent-based survivor Sue Tisdall, who lost her brother Paul in the Bali bombings, told the Ulster Herald that she has written to senior figures in London to also lobby for more support.  “I have sent letters to Theresa May, Boris Johnson, Jeremy Hunt and the Archbishop of Canterbury” she said.  Echoing the Omagh families’ frustration at inadequate responses from the political arena, Ms Tisdall claimed that the Royal family have been more personally supportive of victims issues.
Meanwhile. the Omagh Self Help and Support Group have sent “hearty congratulations” to Australian Labour MP Dr Anne Aly who was narrowly re-elected in the highly marginal Perth seat of Cowan.  The counter-terrorism expert visited Omagh in June 2014 before entering politics.  Professor Aly paid tribute to survivors and featured Omagh campaigner Michael Gallagher in both her memoirs and maiden speech in the national parliament in Canberra.

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