Yesterday passed without a mention on the BBC, UTV or in the newspapers. There was nothing on any of the unionist party’s websites. Yesterday seems not to have mattered.
One of the longest, if not the longest, stretches of road in Northern Ireland without an organised settlement is that between Omagh and Cookstown. The road winds past an area known as the seven sisters which are a series of small loughs near the road. It then goes almost straight for miles towards Cookstown. Just over half way to Omagh it passes a nondescript crossroads.
18 years ago yesterday mattered: it was a Friday evening and a group of ordinary working men were going home from work along that stretch of road. As the minibus approached Teebane crossroads someone activated a command wire and detonated a bomb which killed eight of the workers. After the murders there were arrests but no convictions. It seems that the detonator and nearby litter yielded fingerprint and DNA evidence but the case has not been reopened.
There has been much talk about justice recently in connection with its devolution. It seems that justice for those murdered 18 years ago is no longer on anyone’s agenda.
The murdered victims honoured by a simple granite monument which has been defaced but restored:
William Gary Bleeks (35)
Cecil James Caldwell (37)
Robert Dunseith (25)
David Harkness (23)
John Richard McConnell (38)
Nigel McKee (22)
Robert Irons (61)
Oswald Gilchrist (44)