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Omagh bomb: Relatives of victims 'disappointed but not surprised' with decision for no public inquiry

Omagh bomb gallery Close

Breda Devine, 20 months

Breda Devine, 20 months

Esther Gibson

Esther Gibson

 Spaniard Gonzalo Cavedo poses with a child on his shoulders beside the car carrying the bomb that seconds later killed 29 people, including the  photographer

Spaniard Gonzalo Cavedo poses with a child on his shoulders beside the car carrying the bomb that seconds later killed 29 people, including the photographer

Elizabeth Rush

Elizabeth Rush

Olive Hawkes, aged 60

Olive Hawkes, aged 60

Julie Hughes, aged 21

Julie Hughes, aged 21

Ann McCombe, aged 45

Ann McCombe, aged 45

Mary Grimes, aged 65

Mary Grimes, aged 65

Aiden Gallagher, aged 21

Aiden Gallagher, aged 21

The bomb attack was the worst ever atrocity of Northern Ireland's decades of violence.

The bomb attack was the worst ever atrocity of Northern Ireland's decades of violence.

Brian McCrory, left, aged 54

Brian McCrory, left, aged 54

Samantha McFarland, aged 17

Samantha McFarland, aged 17

Philomena Skelton, aged 39

Philomena Skelton, aged 39

Jolene Marlow, aged 17

Jolene Marlow, aged 17

The scene of the Omagh Bomb

The scene of the Omagh Bomb

Brenda Logue, aged 17

Brenda Logue, aged 17

Alan Radford, aged 16

Alan Radford, aged 16

Bryan White, aged 27

Bryan White, aged 27

Oran Doherty

Oran Doherty

Lorraine Wilson

Lorraine Wilson

Fred White

Fred White

Veda Short

Veda Short

Geraldine Breslin

Geraldine Breslin

Deborah-Ann Cartwright

Deborah-Ann Cartwright

 The scene of devastation in Omagh Town centre where upto 25 people have been killed in this afternoons blast. PACEMAKER BELFAST 15/08/98

The scene of devastation in Omagh Town centre where upto 25 people have been killed in this afternoons blast. PACEMAKER BELFAST 15/08/98

Gareth Conway,  Omagh bomb victim

Gareth Conway, Omagh bomb victim

James Baker, Omagh bomb victim

James Baker, Omagh bomb victim

Scene of the Omagh bomb atrocity 1998

Scene of the Omagh bomb atrocity 1998

PA Archive/Press Association Images

Cathy and Michael Gallagher, the sister and father of Omagh bomb victim, Aiden Gallagher.

Cathy and Michael Gallagher, the sister and father of Omagh bomb victim, Aiden Gallagher.

Man United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has a chat with Claire Gallagher, who lost her sight in the Omagh bomb, before a friendly against Omagh Town in aid of the Omagh Bomb Fund.

Man United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has a chat with Claire Gallagher, who lost her sight in the Omagh bomb, before a friendly against Omagh Town in aid of the Omagh Bomb Fund.

The happy couple — Ryan and Claire Bowse on their wedding day, nine years after Claire lost her sight due to injuries suffered in the Omagh bombing

The happy couple — Ryan and Claire Bowse on their wedding day, nine years after Claire lost her sight due to injuries suffered in the Omagh bombing

The damage caused by the bomb explosion in Market Street, Omagh, 1998

The damage caused by the bomb explosion in Market Street, Omagh, 1998

Donna Marie McGillion, who was seriously injured in the Omagh bombing

Donna Marie McGillion, who was seriously injured in the Omagh bombing

The secret email which shows intelligence bosses knew that Omagh was a prime target for a terrorist attack weeks before the car bomb that devastated the town

The secret email which shows intelligence bosses knew that Omagh was a prime target for a terrorist attack weeks before the car bomb that devastated the town

Claire Radford, whose brother Alan was killed in the Omagh bomb, examines a new stained-glass window in the town's library with her daughter Mia.

Claire Radford, whose brother Alan was killed in the Omagh bomb, examines a new stained-glass window in the town's library with her daughter Mia.

Michael Gallagher whose son Aiden, 21, was killed in the Omagh bomb attack Pic Paul Faith

Michael Gallagher whose son Aiden, 21, was killed in the Omagh bomb attack Pic Paul Faith

PA

Michael Gallagher (right), whose son Aiden, 21, was killed in the Omagh bomb attack with Stanley McCombe who lost  his wife Ann Pic Paul Faith

Michael Gallagher (right), whose son Aiden, 21, was killed in the Omagh bomb attack with Stanley McCombe who lost his wife Ann Pic Paul Faith

PA

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Breda Devine, 20 months

There will be no public inquiry into the Omagh bombing Secretary of State Theresa Villiers has said.

Ms Villiers said there were not "sufficient grounds to justify a further review or inquiry".

Twenty-nine people were killed in the Real IRA attack after a massive car bomb exploded in the Co Tyrone town.

On Thursday morning it was announced that she has decided not to instigate a public inquiry into the circumstances over the Real IRA bombing in Omagh on August 15, 1998.

"I do not believe that there are sufficient grounds to justify a further review or inquiry above and beyond those that have already taken place or are ongoing," she said.

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland said it had not been "an easy decision" and that "all views were carefully considered".

Families of those killed in the attack last month called for a full public inquiry into the atrocity.

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"I believe that the ongoing investigation by the Office of the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland is the best way to address any outstanding issues relating to the police investigation into the Omagh attack," she added.

"The fact remains that the Real IRA carried out the bombing in Omagh on August 15, 1998, murdering 29 people and injuring many more.

"Responsibility is theirs alone. I sincerely hope that the ongoing police investigation will bring to justice those responsible for this brutal crime."

"I have met representatives of the Omagh Support and Self Help Group, as have a number of my predecessors as Secretary of State. I have offered to meet them again to explain my decision further if they wish."

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, the NIO said.

The Co Tyrone blast was one of the worst atrocities in the Northern Ireland conflict and relatives have called for an all-Ireland probe into whether the authorities could have done more to prevent it.

Speaking to Sky News, Michael Gallagher, whose son Aidan was killed in the bomb attack said he was "absolutely disappointed but not surprised".

He described the reasons given by Ms Villiers for ruling out a public inquiry as "trivial".

"Those people didn't need to die and yet here we have the Secretary of State saying we cannot have a public inquiry."

"We gave both governments a document over a year ago that shows that both the British and Irish government could have done something to prevent the Omagh bomb," he said.

"We have the result now - it's not the result we wanted but at least we can move forward. We can go to the courts and that's exactly what we will do."

The 1998 bomb attack killed 29 men, women and children, as well as unborn twins, in what was the most devastating act of terrorism of the Troubles.

Nobody has been convicted for the attack.

But a civil action in 2009 resulted in four men being found liable for the atrocity.

They were found liable for the bombing in a landmark civil case taken by some of the bereaved relatives and ordered to pay £1.6 million compensation.

 


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