On Sunday afternoon, 20 January, around 40 people, adults and children, gathered at the roadside on the A505 between Omagh and Cookstown in front of the memorial that reminds all passers-by of the awful tragedy known as the Teebane Bombing, that happened 27 years ago. The PSNI had diverted the traffic so as to enable the commemoration service to take place in a quiet atmosphere on this cold but clear day.
On 17 January 1992, at about 5.10pm, the Tyrone brigade of the Provisional IRA detonated a bomb planted on the side of the road just as a Mercedes van transporting workers from Karl Construction was approaching the Teebane junction, about 16 miles from Omagh in the direction of Cookstown. Fourteen workers were travelling home in the van from Lisanelly Army Barracks in Omagh when the device exploded, killing seven men instantly and wounding seven others. One of the wounded never regained consciousness and died four days later in the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast. Eight men in all lost their lives in the attack.
The bomb contained 300-500 lbs of home-made explosives packed into two blue barrels. It was detonated from a power source located at the vantage point, 230 metres up the hill overlooking the road that the van was due to travel. A command wire was hidden in the field along the Loughdoo Road under loose grass, connecting the detonator within the blue barrel to a battery pack which was the power source for the device. The bomb created a crater 6.4 metres in diameter and 1.4 metres deep in the grass verge on the side of the road.
The murdered men were David Samuel Harkness, William Gary Alexander Bleeks, John Robert Dunseith, John Richard McConnell, Cecil James Caldwell, Nigel William John McKee, Robert Irons and Oswald Wilson Gilchrist.
The fourteen employees had been working on a security force contract at the Lisanelly Barracks. Over the previous twelve months they had been travelling in a van belonging to Karl Construction, using the same route between Magherafelt and Omagh every working day, morning and evening. The road had not been secured by the RUC against a terrorist attack.
No one has ever been charged for the murders of the eight Karl Construction workers. A complaint lodged by victims was accepted within the remit of the Historical Investigation Directorate of the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland in September 2018 and will be investigated in due course …
The commemoration service was conducted by the Reverend William McCrea, who preached about the need to remember those who were murdered by IRA terrorists on that day. He emphasised that the duty of remembrance must be passed down from one generation to the next so that young people may prevent the tragedies of the past from being repeated in the future. He stated that if those who planned and perpetrated that wicked act are not caught in this life, they will face a day of accountability before the God of Heaven.