Amnesty joins Omagh families in calling for a public inquiry

Victims’ relatives believe Irish and British governments holding call for truth at arm’s length

The aftermath of the 1998 Omagh bombing. Photograph: Frank Miller

The aftermath of the 1998 Omagh bombing. Photograph: Frank Miller


Amnesty International is joining with families of those killed in the Omagh bombing in pressing for an independent public inquiry into the Real IRA attack in 1998 which killed 29 people including a woman who was pregnant with twins.

The call by the international human rights groups coincides with a visit to Omagh today by former Northern Ireland police ombudsman Nuala O’Loan and the former head of the Metropolitan Police anti-terror squad, Bob Quick.

They will, along with Amnesty International and families of those killed and injured in the bombing, mark the 15th anniversary of the atrocity.

Sources suggest there is growing unhappiness in Omagh over what is being seen as both the Irish and British governments keeping at arm’s length the call for the truth to be exposed. Making its call for a full inquiry, Amnesty International said: “Serious questions remain outstanding about alleged state failures in the lead-up to and the aftermath of the Omagh bomb.”

This is despite criminal investigations, a civil case, a Police Ombudsman investigation and other reviews in the UK and Ireland, including one conducted by the UK’s former intelligence services commissioner, the full contents of which have not been made public. “In particular, there are unanswered questions concerning the gathering and sharing of intelligence material,” the organisation added.

Northern Ireland programme director of Amnesty International Patrick Corrigan said: “Beyond addressing the families’ need for answers, there remains a broader public interest in establishing such an inquiry, in order to prevent such a tragedy recurring.”