Friday 16 November 2018

Why we had to make a film about Omagh

Daniel Rosenthal

On a chilly January morning, Michael Gallagher, the mechanic whose son, Aiden, died in the Omagh bombing, is standing behind a disused wing of St Brendan's Hospital, Dublin, about to experience the strangest of double-takes. A car pulls up and Gallagher watches himself get out of the driver's seat and stride into a temporary hut whose door bears a home-made label: "Omagh Sel

On a chilly January morning, Michael Gallagher, the mechanic whose son, Aiden, died in the Omagh bombing, is standing behind a disused wing of St Brendan's Hospital, Dublin, about to experience the strangest of double-takes. A car pulls up and Gallagher watches himself get out of the driver's seat and stride into a temporary hut whose door bears a home-made label: "Omagh Self Help and Support Group." After a call of "cut", actor Gerard McSorley re-emerges from the cabin, begins chatting to Gallagher, the man he's portraying, and Omagh, RTE and Channel 4's drama-documentary about the bombing, is one scene nearer completion.

The cabin, its interior lined with newspaper cuttings, is a replica of the one in Omagh where Gallagher has spent countless hours as chairman of the support group, coming to terms with his grief and pursuing justice for Aiden and the other 30 people - including unborn twins - killed by the 500lb car bomb detonated by the Real IRA on Omagh's Market Street on Saturday August 15, 1998.

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