Council to mark 70th anniversary of the Omagh Rail Tragedy with online video memorial 

23rd November 2020

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This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Omagh Rail Tragedy and to commemorate the anniversary, Fermanagh and Omagh District Council has been working in partnership with Omagh Heritage Forum to produce a memorial video which can be viewed online.

Tragedy struck the community in Omagh on 24 November 1950 when five railway workers, all local men, John Cassidy, John Cleary, Charles Flanagan, Dan McCrory and John McCrory, died when they were struck by a train.

Speaking about the collaboration, the Chairman of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Councillor Chris Smyth said;

“The Great Northern Railway played such a huge part in the history of the town and the district for more than 100 years from its arrival in 1863 to its closure in 1965 and as such it is only right that the Council commemorates the 70th anniversary of the Omagh Rail Tragedy. The video will serve as a lasting memorial to the 5 local railway workers who tragically lost their lives when they were struck by a train on 24 November 1950.

For many years, prior to the move to Gortrush, the Council depot was based in the former Railway yard in John Street, where the Station Centre now stands so there is a tangible link between the railway and the Council.

I would like to thank everyone who participated in the making of the video, especially the families of the men who so tragically died, former railway workers and all those involved in the creative side of the video. I would like to thank the members of Omagh Heritage Forum for their commitment to the project and I am confident that film maker, Oscar Bradley has delivered a fitting legacy to the five men.”

Mark McGrath, Omagh Heritage Forum said;

“Omagh Heritage Forum is delighted to have worked in partnership with Fermanagh and Omagh District Council to deliver this project. We felt that it was important, given that the railways were such a huge part of our heritage in Omagh, that the 70th anniversary of the tragedy which claimed the lives of five local rail workers, be marked in some way. We knew that given the restrictions on public gatherings currently in place as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, any kind of commemoration at the site of the memorial was not going to happen. We felt, however, that it was important that we mark the anniversary just as we marked the 50th anniversary with the unveiling of the memorial stone, and the video will serve as a permanent reminder of the men who lost their lives so tragically in the Omagh Rail Tragedy.”

The video features personal testimonies from family members and fellow railway workers from the time of the tragedy. It also contains photos and written records with music from St Eugene’s Brass and Reed Band of which the late Dan McCrory was a member.

The video is available to view on the Council’s YouTube channel by clicking here.

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council will also light up both Strule Arts Centre and Enniskillen Castle red on Tuesday 24 November 2020 to mark the 70th anniversary of the Omagh Rail Tragedy.