Omagh Bomb Research

In 2013 Families Moving On (FMO) commissioned a distinctive piece of exploratory research into the experiences and impacts of the Omagh Bomb. The research entitled ‘A Unique View of A Shared Experience’ set out to explore the human cost of the Omagh Bomb. Thus, the aim of the research from the beginning was to undertake an inclusive study that acknowledged the views, opinions, and attitudes of those involved. Hence, the research includes the narratives of various individuals that were affected by the Omagh bomb, for example, nurses, doctors, ambulance staff, police, clergy, fire service, the local business sector, the general public and innocent bystanders. Moreover, representatives from the public and voluntary sectors were appointed to oversee the research including Nursing, Police and Clergy.

Research Findings:

As a result of the study several key issues were noted as being important for the victims and survivors of the Omagh bomb.

Psychological Support

Fifteen years following the bomb the majority of respondents reported low levels of mental health and wellbeing. There were significant numbers presenting with high levels of trauma. The research highlighted PTSD symptoms such as paranoia, difficulty sleeping, intrusive memories and avoidance. Thus, the importance of screening at primary care level was highlighted before onward referrals to services such as counselling, cognitive behavioural therapy, holistic therapy, grief and bereavement therapy, and outcome focused therapy.

Physical Health

Some research respondents reported still suffering from physical pain which has a detrimental impact on emotional wellbeing. This highlighted the need for provision to services such as physiotherapy, pain management and holistic healing.

Practical and Social Support

Many respondents reported feeling socially isolated and detached from their wider community alongside overwhelming feelings of distrust and disappointment. These findings therefore highlight the need for services such as befriending, connecting with people with similar experiences, social and emotional support provided through VSS funded Victims and Survivors Groups, financial support and information and guidance.

Transgenerational Impacts

Third generational trauma was revealed through the research with familial experiences and past traumas having an impact on subsequent generations. Thus, the importance of supporting individuals at an educational level to develop skills to become effective leaders within their communities and the need for transgenerational focused activities through VSS funded groups was highlighted.

Truth and Justice

The research showed that fifteen years later many individuals were still struggling to move on and the lack of resolution had hindered the healing journey. Hence, development in specific areas such as storytelling, learning through sharing, contributing to research and capturing the lived experiences may help with healing.

Supporting the Professionals

The research revealed very high levels of trauma amongst professionals that had to deal with the aftermath of the Omagh bomb. Thus, the research suggests lessons need to be learned about how to support professionals after such horrific incidents. In particular, it may be beneficial to examine the availability of services such as PTSD detection, early help, and lastly, information for employers to alert attention to the risks of exposure to trauma.


QE5 Consultancy Ltd (2013). A Unique View of A Shared Experience. A study into the experiences and impacts of the Omagh Bomb, 15 years on.


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