Monitor: The Sunday newspapers reflect on the first anniversary of the Omagh massacre

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THE BOMBING was the worst atrocity visited on Northern Ireland in 30 years of violence. The people of Omagh held their heads high in the dreadful days that followed. The rest of us held our breath lest it trigger an end to the peace process and a return to mindless sectarian killing. Yet the desire for peace was too strong for one breakaway IRA group to torpedo it. All sides now owe it to the Omagh victims to make sure that, by next August, they are signed up to a fair and lasting peace.

Sunday People

IN 30 YEARS nothing had happened to prepare us for the shock. Omagh ought to have dispelled the idea that weakening Ulster's security would bolster the "peace process". Yet, one year on, Mr Blair's promise to hunt down the "criminals and psychopaths" responsible for the outrage goes unfulfilled. In the aftermath of the bomb, a series of security measures was suggested that would genuinely have threatened the men of violence. Some demanded legal changes to help convict paramilitary leaders, including the admission of testimony from anonymous informers and better witness protection.

It is worth asking if anything could jolt ministers out of their determination to appease the IRA. Strip away all the talk about peace and progress and look at what has actually happened in Northern Ireland since the Good Friday deal.

The brutal reality is that the only concrete changes are the weakening of the forces of law and order and the simultaneous strengthening of the paramilitaries whose ranks are now swollen by a number of former prisoners.

The Sunday Telegraph

THE OMAGH massacre has in no way lost its special meaning. It is the defining moment of recent Irish history. The outrage of that act of mass murder, and the calm dignity of the grieving and suffering people of Omagh in response to it, remain demonstrations of the worst and best that human nature is capable of. Omagh is cause enough to be sorrowful and angry, but also a very good reason to be hopeful.

Independent on Sunday

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