Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Omagh families in Ombudsman talks

Michael Gallagher whose son died in the Omagh bombing

Relatives of some victims of the Omagh bomb are seeking a meeting with a former member of the Police Ombudsman's office who was called in to investigate after the acquittal of the only man charged with the atrocity.

Michael Gallagher, whose son Aidan was among the 29 people killed in the August 1998 attack by the Real IRA and who has had talks in Belfast with Al Hutchinson, said afterwards: "Many questions remain unanswered."

The probe followed the trial of Sean Hoey, an electrician from Jonesborough, south Armagh, who was found not guilty in December 2007 of the murders at the end a marathon trial in Belfast.

The Ombudsman's Senior Investigations Officer was called in after the then chief constable Sir Hugh Orde referred issues of concern which emerged during Hoey's trial to the Ombudsman's office.

They involved statements made by a policeman and a scenes of crime officer as well as issues arising from inquires at a crime scene at Altmore forest, near Cappagh, Co Tyrone which was also linked to the Omagh bomb.

The families are still pressing for a full cross-border inquiry and are hoping to get the backing of the human rights organisation British Irish Rights Watch which is sending a representative to Omagh.

But they are also to discuss in detail the report prepared by the SIO following Hoey's acquittal. They met with Mr Hutchinson for an hour and a half at his office and said they are looking to return within the next four to six weeks.

Mr Gallagher, who was accompanied by Stanley McCombe, whose wife Ann was killed, and Edith White, whose husband Fred and son Brian also died, said: "The families need answers. It is important we continue to seek clarity with regards to this particular investigation."

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