Relatives seek review of UK decision on Omagh inquiry
Families say reasons given by Northern Secretary Theresa Villers for not holding inquiry are ‘trivial’
The DUP leader acknowledged there were many people looking for justice who will be hurt by the decision. However, the rejection of a public inquiry would not stop “a more thorough investigation” taking place into who was responsible for the bombing.
“There are a lot of areas that have been raised by the families that need to be thoroughly investigated. People want to know what happened,” he said. “I think we both support the fact that we want the truth to come about what happened in Omagh and we want people to be held to account for it.”
He declined to comment on whether the families were right to seek a judicial review, saying it was a “legal matter” and he was “not going to go into how successful that might be.” He said there was “a very strong case” for the bombing to be the subject of a more thorough investigation similar to the new coroner’s inquest recently ordered into the deaths of 10 Protestant workmen murdered by the IRA in the 1976 Kingsmill massacre.
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Ms Villiers said she had previously met representatives of the Omagh Support and Self Help Group, as had a number of her predecessors to discuss the issue, and was willing to meet them again to explain her decision further if they wished.
“The fact remains that the Real IRA carried out the bombing in Omagh on August 15th, 1998, murdering 29 people and injuring many more. Responsibility is theirs alone,” said Ms Villiers. “I sincerely hope that the ongoing police investigation will bring to justice those responsible for this brutal crime.”
The Northern Ireland Office said there was support for an inquiry among a number of survivors and families of those killed in the bomb, but “others felt that a further inquiry would cause them considerable trauma”.
“All these views were weighed against other factors, including the series of previous inquiries into the Omagh bomb and the current investigation by the Office of the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland,” added the NIO.
Last month just ahead of the August 15th fifteenth anniversary of the bombing the families said documents they presented to the British and Irish governments over a year ago showed there was substantial evidence that dissident republicans were planning an attack on Omagh.
The families claimed that information was not properly shared between the relevant police forces and intelligence services including MI5 and the FBI.