19/12/2001

Police Ombudsman and Chief Constable in talks

Northern Ireland Chief Constable Sir Ronnie Flanagan and the Police Ombudsman, Nuala O’Loan, have held talks over the Omagh bomb inquiry.

A public row between Sir Ronnie and Mrs O'Loan broke out last week following the publication of a critical report into the RUC handling of the Omagh investigation.

Sir Ronnie admitted last week his working relationship with the Police Ombudsman had been damaged following her report, albeit not irreparably.

The Chief Constable and ombudsman agreed to hold a meeting at the Police Ombudsman's offices in Belfast. The Police Service of Northern Ireland confirmed that the meeting held on Monday December 17 lasted more than an hour.

The Police Ombudsman Nuala O’Loan published a report criticising the way in which the Royal Ulster Constabulary headed up the investigation into the Omagh bomb last week. The report released on Wednesday December 12 described the leadership and judgment of Chief Constable Sir Ronnie Flanagan who headed the investigation into the Omagh Bomb as “flawed”. The report opened with: “This report is about a failure of leadership. The victims, their families and officers of the RUC have been let down by defective leadership, poor judgement and a lack of urgency.”

The Police Service of Northern Ireland Chief Constable Sir Ronnie Flanagan replied to the report with a scathing attack on what he described as its “gross and erroneous conclusions”. He said the report was neither a “fair, thorough nor rigorous” representation.

Sir Ronnie Flanagan, who earlier this year confirmed he is to retire in 2002, said he would be replying in full to the Ombudsman’s report early in the New Year. (AMcE)

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