Charity shop issues apology for keeping shop open during Omagh commemoration

Charity shop issues apology for keeping shop open during Omagh commemoration

A charity shop in Omagh has issued an apology for being "insensitive and disrespectful" by keeping their shop open during the recent bombing commemoration.

The British Heart Foundation's (BHF) charity shop on Market Street, just yards from where the bomb exploded on August 15, 1998, was one of a handful of stores that chose to stay open during last Wednesday’s 20th anniversary service.

BHF regional director Jane Flannery travelled from her office in Glasgow to apologise for the "inexcusable" mistake.

The issue was raised when Eugene Floyd, whose daughter Alison was injured in the explosion which killed 29 people and unborn twins, branded the store’s decision to stay open as a "disgrace".

He chose to resign as a volunteer at the shop as a result of the incident.

"It should never have happened. It was most disrespectful to the victims and their relatives - the least they could have done was close," he told the Tyrone Constitution.

"We want to extend a huge apology to Mr Floyd as well as to our local staff and volunteers and of course to the wider Omagh community," Ms Flannery said.

"I have been in telephone contact with Mr Floyd to apologise and also written to him to ask for a meeting to apologise in person."

Ms Flannery said she apologised "unreservedly" for failing to "give the 20th anniversary of the Omagh bomb the respect it deserved" and expressed regret over its failure to close along with other retail outlets in the town.

"To not do so was insensitive and disrespectful to a community which has welcomed us with open arms since we opened in March," she added.

"This was a grave error in judgment and something which should not have happened."