09/05/2002

Omagh families express lack of faith in investigations

The relatives and families of those killed in the Omagh bomb have had to endure another week of painful rumour and revelations.

This week news emerged that the Irish Minister for Justice John O’Donoghue has ordered an independent inquiry into allegations that the Garda Siochána withheld information from the then named RUC which, it is alleged, could have helped prevent the Omagh bomb which ripped through the town in August 1998 killing 29 people.

However, Gardaí have strenuously dismissed claims that they did not pass on information to the RUC as “ludicrous”. In a statement they said the allegations came from “mischievous sources.”

Already a three-man team, set up by Mr O’Donoghue has met to examine the claims made to the Police Ombudsman's office in Northern Ireland. The claims came to light following allegations made by a sergeant in the Gardaí who has since been suspended.

The team first met on April 29 and will make their findings known shortly according to Gardaí sources.

In the light of this the families of the Omagh bomb said after a meeting with British Home Secretary David Blunkett that they had little faith in any of the ongoing police investigations.

Speaking on Thursday Michael Gallagher, whose son Aidan was killed in the bomb attack, said: “There is not the cooperation between the two forces that we were told. There are missed opportunities there. We’re holding intelligence at the moment that the Omagh investigation north of the border don’t have. I think that’s a ridiculous situation to have.”

He added: “It just beggars belief.”

Welcoming the official investigation by Mr O’Donoghue, the SDLP’s Joe Byrne said he would be “keenly awaiting its recommendations.

“The recent North-South Agreement on Policing between the Irish and British Governments must now be fully utilised to apprehend those responsible for the Omagh outrage. There must be maximum police co-operation on a formal North-south basis to ensure that any terrorist threat from dissident republicans and loyalists is thwarted,” he added.

(AMcE)


Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

20 March 2020
Shots Fired At Houses In Co Antrim
Police have said it is by "sheer luck" that no one was injured when shots were fired at two properties in Co Antrim last night. A lone gunman targeted the houses in Rasharkin's Moneyleck Park at around 9.50pm on Thursday night, 19 March.
11 March 2020
Man Arrested Over INLA Drug Activity
Detectives investigating drug activities within the INLA paramilitary group have made an arrest. The 33 year-old suspect was detained following a search in west Belfast on Tuesday evening, 10 March, during which a quantity of class B and C drugs were seized. A substantial sum of money and the drug pregabalin were also discovered.
11 March 2020
Police Renew Appeal Over Co Tyrone Stabbing
Police have renewed their appeal for information in connection with a stabbing in Moy, Co Tyrone. The incident occurred in the early hours of Sunday 01 March in The Square area of the town. Three men and a woman were attacked as they left a bar at around 1.20am. One of the men, aged 31, suffered a serious stab wound to his abdomen.
23 March 2020
Four Charged As Counterfeit Money Seized In Co Armagh
Four men have been charged to court after counterfeit currency was seized when a vehicle failed to stop for police in Co Armagh. The white transit van also collided with a number of police vehicles during the incident on Saturday 21 March.
18 March 2020
Call For Police Support Over Comber Murder Bid
An Alliance MLA has issued a call for support for the police following a shooting in Comber. The gun attack on Sunday night, 15 March, is being treated as attempted murder. A man in his 50s had driven into a yard in the Ballycreely Road area of the town when a masked man armed with a suspected handgun emerged from a hedge.