Inquiry call to uncover Omagh ‘secrets’ (UTV)

Relatives of the Omagh bomb victims have told the Secretary of State they will seek a judicial review, if a public inquiry is not held into the August 1998 attack.

Twenty-nine people, including a woman pregnant with twins, were killed when the Real IRA bomb ripped through the Co Tyrone market town.

The families met with Owen Paterson at Hillsborough Castle on Monday, where they gave him an independent report into the police’s handling of the investigations into the atrocity.

It is understood the document focuses on the security intelligence and the various investigations carried out into the Omagh bombing.

Michael Gallagher, whose 21-year-old son Aidan was murdered in the attack, said they have uncovered fresh evidence which shows that authorities on both sides of the border could have prevented the bombing.

He said British and Irish Governments are reluctant to have a public inquiry into the atrocity because it would uncover “unnerving secrets” and “uncomfortable truths” about security force failings.

“What the report shows is that there were a number of evidential opportunities that were missed,” Mr Gallagher told UTV.

“We feel that the only way to get to the truth is through a judicial public inquiry.

“There are significant areas which we believe the government will find difficult to deal with and for that reason the only instrument available to the government to deal with this is a full, cross-border public inquiry.”

Mr Paterson did not give any commitment to their request, but said he would simply examine the report.

The families described Monday’s meeting as constructive. They are now calling for a meeting with PSNI Chief Constable Matt Baggott and Justice Minister David Ford.

They said that, if the Secretary of State decides not to grant them a public inquiry, they would be prepared to seek a judicial review.

The report findings cannot be made public for legal reasons.


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