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.


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