Belfast Telegraph

O'Loan backs calls for cross-border inquiry over 'massive failures'

BY ADRIAN RUTHERFORD

A former Police Ombudsman who criticised the police investigation into the Omagh bombing has backed calls for a cross-border inquiry.

Nuala O'Loan said new information which has emerged was "cause for enormous concern".

In 2001 Baroness O'Loan published a damning report which criticised the investigation into the bombing, concluding that key intelligence was not shared.

"There can be no doubt there were massive failures by the security and intelligence services," she said yesterday.

Baroness O'Loan said there was "very significant reason" to act on the material presented to the British and Irish governments by the Omagh families.

She said an inquiry "must ensue", adding: "It will provide answers for the families but above all it will inform the fight against terrorism in the future.

"The families still don't have the full story and we still don't know the lessons which could be learnt."

Former Metropolitan Police assistant commissioner and counter-terrorism chief Bob Quick also backed the families' call.

"I, along with other former police officers, have taken an interest in this case," he added.

"More recently I've learned even more new information which certainly, as a former counter-terrorism professional, led me to conclude that the only proper thing to do is to examine these issues.

"I'm firmly of the view that what's emerged so far is more than enough grounds to conclude that a proper and full-ranging inquiry is the right thing to do."

Although the families presented their call for an inquiry to the two governments in July 2012, they have yet to receive a response.

Stanley McCombe, whose wife Ann died in the 1998 bombing, said Secretary of State Theresa Villiers and Alan Shatter, the Irish justice minister "should be absolutely ashamed of themselves".

"They should be embarrassed if nothing else," he added.

Neither Ms Villiers nor Mr Shatter were available for comment but their respective offices released statements saying the families' report was still under consideration.

Belfast Telegraph

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