Public Inquiry into Omagh bombing confirmed

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland the Rt Hon Chris Heaton-Harris, is welcomed to Omagh by Michael Gallagher, and Stanley McCombe. MC 87


THE NI Secretary of State, Christopher Heaton-Harris, has announced an independent statutory inquiry into the 1998 Omagh bomb.

This announcement follows a long-running legal action brought by Michael Gallagher a relative of one of the 29 people who died after the bomb exploded on  August 15, 1998.
In July 2021, the High Court found there should be an investigation into whether intelligence information could have prevented the attack.
The independent statutory inquiry will examine the four issues identified by the High Court; the handling and sharing of intelligence, the use of cell phone analysis, whether there was advance knowledge or reasonable means of knowledge of the bomb, and whether disruption operations could or should have been mounted, which may have helped prevent the attack.

The Minister for Justice said he has today noted the decision by the UK Government to establish a Statutory Inquiry on foot of the judgment [2021] NIQB 85 in the Belfast High Court.

Minister Harris said, “What happened at Omagh was an unspeakable and brutal act of cruelty.  The terrorists who carried it out had simply no sense of humanity and they displayed a complete and shocking disregard for life itself. It is they who carry responsibility for this brutal act.”

“We will never forget those who lost their lives, those who were injured and the families whose suffering for their loved ones continues.

“The Irish Government is deeply conscious of the enduring suffering and hardship that survivors of Troubles-related attacks bear. The Government has always sought to acknowledge and address the legitimate needs and expectations of victims’ families and survivors of Troubles-related attacks.

“It is the case, of course, that a number of reviews/investigations have previously taken place in this jurisdiction with regard to Omagh.

“I will be discussing today’s announcement with my Government colleagues and we will, of course, consider what further action is required on our part in response to the UK Government’s decision to establish an Inquiry.

“I look forward to receiving further detail on the proposed UK Inquiry as it becomes available.”


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