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  1. ITV Report

Prince Charles meets Omagh bomb first responders

Prince Charles and Camilla lay a wreath at the Omagh bomb memorial garden. Credit: PA

Prince Charles and Camilla have met paramedics, firefighters and police officers who had to deal with the carnage of the Omagh bomb 20 years ago.

Twenty-nine people, including a woman pregnant with twins, died in the Real IRA blast on a busy Saturday afternoon in August 1998.

The atrocity was one of the worst in Northern Ireland’s troubled past.

“The atmosphere that day, there was an eerie silence,” paramedic John Taylor from Dungannon, one of the first on the bomb scene, said.

“You could hear sirens and firemen shouting different instructions and people, but there was an eerie silence in the whole place.

“Every time I drive through it, it brings me back.”

Prince Charles meets Caroline Martin, whose sister Esther Gibson was killed in the Omagh bomb. Credit: PA

The royal visitors laid a floral tribute at the garden dedicated to the memory of the victims, before going on to meet families of those who lost their lives.

Earlier, Charles toured the Omagh Hospital and Primary Care Complex and met medical staff who treated the bomb victims in the aftermath.

Prince Charles is visiting Omagh on day two of his visit to Northern Ireland. Credit: Presseye

Joann McCullagh, who was a staff nurse in the intensive care ward on the day of the attack, told Charles about her role working at the “coalface”.

“We worked tirelessly throughout the day and night, dealing with the very traumatically injured patients,” she said.

“The relatives were also looking for their loved ones.

“We, as a group of people, worked very closely together to support each other in the dark days that followed.”

Staff nurse Joann McCullagh, who treated victims of the Omagh bomb, met Prince Charles. Credit: PA

DUP leader Arlene Foster and West Tyrone Sinn Féin MP Órfhlaith Begley were among those who greeted the prince.

The two-day visit to Northern Ireland saw Charles spend Tuesday in north Belfast, visiting Carlisle Memorial Methodist Church and nearby St Patrick's Catholic Church.