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Omagh Bombing 'could have been prevented'... it's time for full public inquiry to get answers, says ex-Police Ombudsman O'Loan

Checkpoints around town could have forced killers to abandon bomb

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The aftermath of the Omagh bombing

The aftermath of the Omagh bombing

The aftermath of the Omagh bombing

A former Police Ombudsman who investigated the police handling of the 1998 Omagh Bombing has said that she now "firmly believes" the attack could have been prevented by the police.

However, a former senior police officer decribed the claim as "astounding and naive" saying had police been able to that would have stopped the attack.

Baroness Nuala O'Loan also called for a full public inquiry to investigate why the bombing was allowed to happen.

A total of 29 men, woman and children - including a mother pregnant with unborn twins - were killed in the Real IRA attack which devastated the Tyrone town on August 15, 1998.

Omagh bomb 20th anniversary memorial service [Photos] Close

People visit the Omagh Memorial garden after attending the ceremony for victims of the car bomb on Market Street on the 15th August 1998.  
Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire

People visit the Omagh Memorial garden after attending the ceremony for victims of the car bomb on Market Street on the 15th August 1998. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire

PA

People visit the Omagh Memorial garden after attending the ceremony for victims of the car bomb on Market Street on the 15th August 1998. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday August 15, 2018. The worst single atrocity of the Northern Ireland conflict killed 29 people, including a woman pregnant with twins. See PA story ULSTER Omagh. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire

People visit the Omagh Memorial garden after attending the ceremony for victims of the car bomb on Market Street on the 15th August 1998. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday August 15, 2018. The worst single atrocity of the Northern Ireland conflict killed 29 people, including a woman pregnant with twins. See PA story ULSTER Omagh. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire

PA

White Rose petals are thrown into a pond at the Omagh Memorial garden by people who attended the ceremony for victims of the car bomb on Market Street on the 15th August 1998. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday August 15, 2018. The worst single atrocity of the Northern Ireland conflict killed 29 people, including a woman pregnant with twins. See PA story ULSTER Omagh. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire

White Rose petals are thrown into a pond at the Omagh Memorial garden by people who attended the ceremony for victims of the car bomb on Market Street on the 15th August 1998. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday August 15, 2018. The worst single atrocity of the Northern Ireland conflict killed 29 people, including a woman pregnant with twins. See PA story ULSTER Omagh. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire

PA

Kevin Skelton, whose wife Philomena died in the blast during the ceremony for victims of the Omagh car bombing on Market Street on the 15th August 1998. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday August 15, 2018. The worst single atrocity of the Northern Ireland conflict killed 29 people, including a woman pregnant with twins. See PA story ULSTER Omagh. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Kevin Skelton, whose wife Philomena died in the blast during the ceremony for victims of the Omagh car bombing on Market Street on the 15th August 1998. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday August 15, 2018. The worst single atrocity of the Northern Ireland conflict killed 29 people, including a woman pregnant with twins. See PA story ULSTER Omagh. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire

PA

People gathered on Market Street, Omagh, during the ceremony to mark the 20th anniversary of the Omagh bombing on 15 August 1998. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday August 15, 2018. The worst single atrocity of the Northern Ireland conflict killed 29, including a woman pregnant with twins. See PA story ULSTER Omagh. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire

People gathered on Market Street, Omagh, during the ceremony to mark the 20th anniversary of the Omagh bombing on 15 August 1998. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday August 15, 2018. The worst single atrocity of the Northern Ireland conflict killed 29, including a woman pregnant with twins. See PA story ULSTER Omagh. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire

PA

People gathered on Market Street, Omagh, during the ceremony to mark the 20th anniversary of the Omagh bombing on 15 August 1998. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday August 15, 2018. The worst single atrocity of the Northern Ireland conflict killed 29, including a woman pregnant with twins. See PA story ULSTER Omagh. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire

People gathered on Market Street, Omagh, during the ceremony to mark the 20th anniversary of the Omagh bombing on 15 August 1998. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday August 15, 2018. The worst single atrocity of the Northern Ireland conflict killed 29, including a woman pregnant with twins. See PA story ULSTER Omagh. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire

PA

People gathered on Market Street, Omagh, during the ceremony to mark the 20th anniversary of the Omagh bombing on 15 August 1998. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday August 15, 2018. The worst single atrocity of the Northern Ireland conflict killed 29, including a woman pregnant with twins. See PA story ULSTER Omagh. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire

People gathered on Market Street, Omagh, during the ceremony to mark the 20th anniversary of the Omagh bombing on 15 August 1998. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday August 15, 2018. The worst single atrocity of the Northern Ireland conflict killed 29, including a woman pregnant with twins. See PA story ULSTER Omagh. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire

PA

People observe a minutes silence on Market Street, Omagh, during the ceremony to mark the 20th anniversary of the Omagh bombing on 15 August 1998. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday August 15, 2018. The worst single atrocity of the Northern Ireland conflict killed 29, including a woman pregnant with twins. See PA story ULSTER Omagh. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire

People observe a minutes silence on Market Street, Omagh, during the ceremony to mark the 20th anniversary of the Omagh bombing on 15 August 1998. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday August 15, 2018. The worst single atrocity of the Northern Ireland conflict killed 29, including a woman pregnant with twins. See PA story ULSTER Omagh. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire

PA

Richard Scott reads a poem entitled "Reality" during the ceremony for victims of the Omagh bombing at the site where a car bomb exploded on Market Street in Omagh on 15 August 1998. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday August 15, 2018. The worst single atrocity of the Northern Ireland conflict killed 29, including a woman pregnant with twins. See PA story ULSTER Omagh. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Richard Scott reads a poem entitled "Reality" during the ceremony for victims of the Omagh bombing at the site where a car bomb exploded on Market Street in Omagh on 15 August 1998. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday August 15, 2018. The worst single atrocity of the Northern Ireland conflict killed 29, including a woman pregnant with twins. See PA story ULSTER Omagh. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire

PA

Fr Kevin Mullan reading a poem entitled "A call to return" during the ceremony for victims of the Omagh bombing at the site where a car bomb exploded on Market Street in Omagh on 15 August 1998. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday August 15, 2018. The worst single atrocity of the Northern Ireland conflict killed 29, including a woman pregnant with twins. See PA story ULSTER Omagh. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Fr Kevin Mullan reading a poem entitled "A call to return" during the ceremony for victims of the Omagh bombing at the site where a car bomb exploded on Market Street in Omagh on 15 August 1998. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday August 15, 2018. The worst single atrocity of the Northern Ireland conflict killed 29, including a woman pregnant with twins. See PA story ULSTER Omagh. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire

PA

The 20th anniversary of the Omagh bomb was held in the memorial garden in Omagh. 
PICTURE MATT BOHILL PACEMAKER

The 20th anniversary of the Omagh bomb was held in the memorial garden in Omagh. PICTURE MATT BOHILL PACEMAKER

12/8/18 PACEMAKER PRESS
The 20th anniversary of the Omagh bomb was held in the memorial garden in Omagh. Victims who "suffered and those who are still suffering" have been remembered at a cross-community ceremony ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Omagh bomb.
Twenty-nine people - including a woman pregnant with twins - died in the 1998 attack in the County Tyrone town.
The memorial included prayers in both English and Irish as well as a reading in Spanish, the native tongue of two of the victims.
PICTURE MATT BOHILL PACEMAKER

12/8/18 PACEMAKER PRESS The 20th anniversary of the Omagh bomb was held in the memorial garden in Omagh. Victims who "suffered and those who are still suffering" have been remembered at a cross-community ceremony ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Omagh bomb. Twenty-nine people - including a woman pregnant with twins - died in the 1998 attack in the County Tyrone town. The memorial included prayers in both English and Irish as well as a reading in Spanish, the native tongue of two of the victims. PICTURE MATT BOHILL PACEMAKER

12/8/18 PACEMAKER PRESS
The 20th anniversary of the Omagh bomb was held in the memorial garden in Omagh. Victims who "suffered and those who are still suffering" have been remembered at a cross-community ceremony ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Omagh bomb.
Twenty-nine people - including a woman pregnant with twins - died in the 1998 attack in the County Tyrone town.
The memorial included prayers in both English and Irish as well as a reading in Spanish, the native tongue of two of the victims.
PICTURE MATT BOHILL PACEMAKER

12/8/18 PACEMAKER PRESS The 20th anniversary of the Omagh bomb was held in the memorial garden in Omagh. Victims who "suffered and those who are still suffering" have been remembered at a cross-community ceremony ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Omagh bomb. Twenty-nine people - including a woman pregnant with twins - died in the 1998 attack in the County Tyrone town. The memorial included prayers in both English and Irish as well as a reading in Spanish, the native tongue of two of the victims. PICTURE MATT BOHILL PACEMAKER

12/8/18 PACEMAKER PRESS
The 20th anniversary of the Omagh bomb was held in the memorial garden in Omagh. Victims who "suffered and those who are still suffering" have been remembered at a cross-community ceremony ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Omagh bomb.
Twenty-nine people - including a woman pregnant with twins - died in the 1998 attack in the County Tyrone town.
The memorial included prayers in both English and Irish as well as a reading in Spanish, the native tongue of two of the victims.
PICTURE MATT BOHILL PACEMAKER

12/8/18 PACEMAKER PRESS The 20th anniversary of the Omagh bomb was held in the memorial garden in Omagh. Victims who "suffered and those who are still suffering" have been remembered at a cross-community ceremony ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Omagh bomb. Twenty-nine people - including a woman pregnant with twins - died in the 1998 attack in the County Tyrone town. The memorial included prayers in both English and Irish as well as a reading in Spanish, the native tongue of two of the victims. PICTURE MATT BOHILL PACEMAKER

12/8/18 PACEMAKER PRESS
The 20th anniversary of the Omagh bomb was held in the memorial garden in Omagh. Victims who "suffered and those who are still suffering" have been remembered at a cross-community ceremony ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Omagh bomb.
Twenty-nine people - including a woman pregnant with twins - died in the 1998 attack in the County Tyrone town.
The memorial included prayers in both English and Irish as well as a reading in Spanish, the native tongue of two of the victims.
PICTURE MATT BOHILL PACEMAKER

12/8/18 PACEMAKER PRESS The 20th anniversary of the Omagh bomb was held in the memorial garden in Omagh. Victims who "suffered and those who are still suffering" have been remembered at a cross-community ceremony ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Omagh bomb. Twenty-nine people - including a woman pregnant with twins - died in the 1998 attack in the County Tyrone town. The memorial included prayers in both English and Irish as well as a reading in Spanish, the native tongue of two of the victims. PICTURE MATT BOHILL PACEMAKER

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th August 2018 - 
Minister of State for Northern Ireland, Shailesh Vara MP and Irish Minister Simin Harris join relatives and guests to take part in the Omagh Bomb Memorial Service in the Memorial Garden of Light ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Omagh bombing.

Twenty-nine people - including a woman pregnant with twins - were killed in a car bomb attack in the County Tyrone town in 1998. It was carried out by the dissident republican Real IRA, several months after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.
 
Photo by  Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th August 2018 - Minister of State for Northern Ireland, Shailesh Vara MP and Irish Minister Simin Harris join relatives and guests to take part in the Omagh Bomb Memorial Service in the Memorial Garden of Light ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Omagh bombing. Twenty-nine people - including a woman pregnant with twins - were killed in a car bomb attack in the County Tyrone town in 1998. It was carried out by the dissident republican Real IRA, several months after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press E

The 20th anniversary of the Omagh bomb was held in the memorial garden in Omagh. PICTURE MATT BOHILL PACEMAKER

The 20th anniversary of the Omagh bomb was held in the memorial garden in Omagh. PICTURE MATT BOHILL PACEMAKER

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th August 2018 - 
Minister of State for Northern Ireland, Shailesh Vara MP and Irish Minister Simin Harris join relatives and guests to take part in the Omagh Bomb Memorial Service in the Memorial Garden of Light ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Omagh bombing.

Twenty-nine people - including a woman pregnant with twins - were killed in a car bomb attack in the County Tyrone town in 1998. It was carried out by the dissident republican Real IRA, several months after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.
 
Photo by  Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th August 2018 - Minister of State for Northern Ireland, Shailesh Vara MP and Irish Minister Simin Harris join relatives and guests to take part in the Omagh Bomb Memorial Service in the Memorial Garden of Light ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Omagh bombing. Twenty-nine people - including a woman pregnant with twins - were killed in a car bomb attack in the County Tyrone town in 1998. It was carried out by the dissident republican Real IRA, several months after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press E

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th August 2018 - 
Minister of State for Northern Ireland, Shailesh Vara MP and Irish Minister Simin Harris join relatives and guests to take part in the Omagh Bomb Memorial Service in the Memorial Garden of Light ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Omagh bombing.

Twenty-nine people - including a woman pregnant with twins - were killed in a car bomb attack in the County Tyrone town in 1998. It was carried out by the dissident republican Real IRA, several months after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.
 
Photo by  Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th August 2018 - Minister of State for Northern Ireland, Shailesh Vara MP and Irish Minister Simin Harris join relatives and guests to take part in the Omagh Bomb Memorial Service in the Memorial Garden of Light ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Omagh bombing. Twenty-nine people - including a woman pregnant with twins - were killed in a car bomb attack in the County Tyrone town in 1998. It was carried out by the dissident republican Real IRA, several months after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press E

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th August 2018 - 
Minister of State for Northern Ireland, Shailesh Vara MP and Irish Minister Simin Harris with Michael Gallagher in the Omagh Bomb Memorial Service in the Memorial Garden of Light ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Omagh bombing.

Twenty-nine people - including a woman pregnant with twins - were killed in a car bomb attack in the County Tyrone town in 1998. It was carried out by the dissident republican Real IRA, several months after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.
 
Photo by  Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th August 2018 - Minister of State for Northern Ireland, Shailesh Vara MP and Irish Minister Simin Harris with Michael Gallagher in the Omagh Bomb Memorial Service in the Memorial Garden of Light ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Omagh bombing. Twenty-nine people - including a woman pregnant with twins - were killed in a car bomb attack in the County Tyrone town in 1998. It was carried out by the dissident republican Real IRA, several months after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press E

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th August 2018 - 
Minister of State for Northern Ireland, Shailesh Vara MP and Irish Minister Simin Harris join relatives and guests to take part in the Omagh Bomb Memorial Service in the Memorial Garden of Light ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Omagh bombing.

Twenty-nine people - including a woman pregnant with twins - were killed in a car bomb attack in the County Tyrone town in 1998. It was carried out by the dissident republican Real IRA, several months after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.
 
Photo by  Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th August 2018 - Minister of State for Northern Ireland, Shailesh Vara MP and Irish Minister Simin Harris join relatives and guests to take part in the Omagh Bomb Memorial Service in the Memorial Garden of Light ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Omagh bombing. Twenty-nine people - including a woman pregnant with twins - were killed in a car bomb attack in the County Tyrone town in 1998. It was carried out by the dissident republican Real IRA, several months after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press E

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th August 2018 - 
Minister of State for Northern Ireland, Shailesh Vara MP and Irish Minister Simin Harris join relatives and guests to take part in the Omagh Bomb Memorial Service in the Memorial Garden of Light ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Omagh bombing.

Twenty-nine people - including a woman pregnant with twins - were killed in a car bomb attack in the County Tyrone town in 1998. It was carried out by the dissident republican Real IRA, several months after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.
 
Photo by  Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th August 2018 - Minister of State for Northern Ireland, Shailesh Vara MP and Irish Minister Simin Harris join relatives and guests to take part in the Omagh Bomb Memorial Service in the Memorial Garden of Light ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Omagh bombing. Twenty-nine people - including a woman pregnant with twins - were killed in a car bomb attack in the County Tyrone town in 1998. It was carried out by the dissident republican Real IRA, several months after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press E

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th August 2018 - 
Minister of State for Northern Ireland, Shailesh Vara MP and Irish Minister Simin Harris with Michael Gallagher in the Omagh Bomb Memorial Service in the Memorial Garden of Light ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Omagh bombing.

Twenty-nine people - including a woman pregnant with twins - were killed in a car bomb attack in the County Tyrone town in 1998. It was carried out by the dissident republican Real IRA, several months after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.
 
Photo by  Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th August 2018 - Minister of State for Northern Ireland, Shailesh Vara MP and Irish Minister Simin Harris with Michael Gallagher in the Omagh Bomb Memorial Service in the Memorial Garden of Light ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Omagh bombing. Twenty-nine people - including a woman pregnant with twins - were killed in a car bomb attack in the County Tyrone town in 1998. It was carried out by the dissident republican Real IRA, several months after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press E

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th August 2018 - 
Minister of State for Northern Ireland, Shailesh Vara MP and Irish Minister Simin Harris with Michael Gallagher in the Omagh Bomb Memorial Service in the Memorial Garden of Light ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Omagh bombing.

Twenty-nine people - including a woman pregnant with twins - were killed in a car bomb attack in the County Tyrone town in 1998. It was carried out by the dissident republican Real IRA, several months after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.
 
Photo by  Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th August 2018 - Minister of State for Northern Ireland, Shailesh Vara MP and Irish Minister Simin Harris with Michael Gallagher in the Omagh Bomb Memorial Service in the Memorial Garden of Light ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Omagh bombing. Twenty-nine people - including a woman pregnant with twins - were killed in a car bomb attack in the County Tyrone town in 1998. It was carried out by the dissident republican Real IRA, several months after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press E

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th August 2018 - 
Relatives and guests take part in the Omagh Bomb Memorial Service in the Memorial Garden of Light ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Omagh bombing.

Twenty-nine people - including a woman pregnant with twins - were killed in a car bomb attack in the County Tyrone town in 1998. It was carried out by the dissident republican Real IRA, several months after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.
 
Photo by  Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th August 2018 - Relatives and guests take part in the Omagh Bomb Memorial Service in the Memorial Garden of Light ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Omagh bombing. Twenty-nine people - including a woman pregnant with twins - were killed in a car bomb attack in the County Tyrone town in 1998. It was carried out by the dissident republican Real IRA, several months after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press E

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th August 2018 - 
Minister of State for Northern Ireland, Shailesh Vara MP and Irish Minister Simin Harris join relatives and guests to take part in the Omagh Bomb Memorial Service in the Memorial Garden of Light ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Omagh bombing.

Twenty-nine people - including a woman pregnant with twins - were killed in a car bomb attack in the County Tyrone town in 1998. It was carried out by the dissident republican Real IRA, several months after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.
 
Photo by  Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th August 2018 - Minister of State for Northern Ireland, Shailesh Vara MP and Irish Minister Simin Harris join relatives and guests to take part in the Omagh Bomb Memorial Service in the Memorial Garden of Light ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Omagh bombing. Twenty-nine people - including a woman pregnant with twins - were killed in a car bomb attack in the County Tyrone town in 1998. It was carried out by the dissident republican Real IRA, several months after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press E

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th August 2018 - 
Members of Omagh Community Youth Choir take part in the Omagh Bomb Memorial Service in the Memorial Garden of Light ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Omagh bombing.

Twenty-nine people - including a woman pregnant with twins - were killed in a car bomb attack in the County Tyrone town in 1998. It was carried out by the dissident republican Real IRA, several months after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.
 
Photo by  Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th August 2018 - Members of Omagh Community Youth Choir take part in the Omagh Bomb Memorial Service in the Memorial Garden of Light ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Omagh bombing. Twenty-nine people - including a woman pregnant with twins - were killed in a car bomb attack in the County Tyrone town in 1998. It was carried out by the dissident republican Real IRA, several months after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press E

12/8/18 PACEMAKER PRESS
The 20th anniversary of the Omagh bomb was held in the memorial garden in Omagh. Pictured campaigner Michael Gallagher.
PICTURE MATT BOHILL PACEMAKER

12/8/18 PACEMAKER PRESS The 20th anniversary of the Omagh bomb was held in the memorial garden in Omagh. Pictured campaigner Michael Gallagher. PICTURE MATT BOHILL PACEMAKER

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th August 2018 - 
Michael Gallagher join relatives and guests to take part in the Omagh Bomb Memorial Service in the Memorial Garden of Light ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Omagh bombing.

Twenty-nine people - including a woman pregnant with twins - were killed in a car bomb attack in the County Tyrone town in 1998. It was carried out by the dissident republican Real IRA, several months after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.
 
Photo by  Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th August 2018 - Michael Gallagher join relatives and guests to take part in the Omagh Bomb Memorial Service in the Memorial Garden of Light ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Omagh bombing. Twenty-nine people - including a woman pregnant with twins - were killed in a car bomb attack in the County Tyrone town in 1998. It was carried out by the dissident republican Real IRA, several months after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press E

12/8/18 PACEMAKER PRESS
The 20th anniversary of the Omagh bomb was held in the memorial garden in Omagh. Pictured survivor Donna Marie McGillion.
PICTURE MATT BOHILL PACEMAKER

12/8/18 PACEMAKER PRESS The 20th anniversary of the Omagh bomb was held in the memorial garden in Omagh. Pictured survivor Donna Marie McGillion. PICTURE MATT BOHILL PACEMAKER

The 20th anniversary of the Omagh bomb was held in the memorial garden in Omagh. Pictured George Hamilton..PICTURE MATT BOHILL PACEMAKER

The 20th anniversary of the Omagh bomb was held in the memorial garden in Omagh. Pictured George Hamilton..PICTURE MATT BOHILL PACEMAKER

12/8/18 PACEMAKER PRESS
The 20th anniversary of the Omagh bomb was held in the memorial garden in Omagh. 
PICTURE MATT BOHILL PACEMAKER

12/8/18 PACEMAKER PRESS The 20th anniversary of the Omagh bomb was held in the memorial garden in Omagh. PICTURE MATT BOHILL PACEMAKER

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th August 2018 - 
Minister of State for Northern Ireland, Shailesh Vara MP and Irish Minister Simin Harris join relatives and guests to take part in the Omagh Bomb Memorial Service in the Memorial Garden of Light ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Omagh bombing.

Twenty-nine people - including a woman pregnant with twins - were killed in a car bomb attack in the County Tyrone town in 1998. It was carried out by the dissident republican Real IRA, several months after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.
 
Photo by  Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th August 2018 - Minister of State for Northern Ireland, Shailesh Vara MP and Irish Minister Simin Harris join relatives and guests to take part in the Omagh Bomb Memorial Service in the Memorial Garden of Light ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Omagh bombing. Twenty-nine people - including a woman pregnant with twins - were killed in a car bomb attack in the County Tyrone town in 1998. It was carried out by the dissident republican Real IRA, several months after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press E

12/8/18 PACEMAKER PRESS
The 20th anniversary of the Omagh bomb was held in the memorial garden in Omagh. Pixtured Miinster Shailesh Vara MP and Minister Simon Harris.
PICTURE MATT BOHILL PACEMAKER

12/8/18 PACEMAKER PRESS The 20th anniversary of the Omagh bomb was held in the memorial garden in Omagh. Pixtured Miinster Shailesh Vara MP and Minister Simon Harris. PICTURE MATT BOHILL PACEMAKER

12/8/18 PACEMAKER PRESS
The 20th anniversary of the Omagh bomb was held in the memorial garden in Omagh. Michael Gallagher Omagh bomb campaigner.
PICTURE MATT BOHILL PACEMAKER

12/8/18 PACEMAKER PRESS The 20th anniversary of the Omagh bomb was held in the memorial garden in Omagh. Michael Gallagher Omagh bomb campaigner. PICTURE MATT BOHILL PACEMAKER

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th August 2018 - 
Minister of State for Northern Ireland, Shailesh Vara MP and Irish Minister Simin Harris join relatives and guests to take part in the Omagh Bomb Memorial Service in the Memorial Garden of Light ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Omagh bombing.

Twenty-nine people - including a woman pregnant with twins - were killed in a car bomb attack in the County Tyrone town in 1998. It was carried out by the dissident republican Real IRA, several months after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.
 
Photo by  Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th August 2018 - Minister of State for Northern Ireland, Shailesh Vara MP and Irish Minister Simin Harris join relatives and guests to take part in the Omagh Bomb Memorial Service in the Memorial Garden of Light ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Omagh bombing. Twenty-nine people - including a woman pregnant with twins - were killed in a car bomb attack in the County Tyrone town in 1998. It was carried out by the dissident republican Real IRA, several months after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press E

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th August 2018 - 
Minister of State for Northern Ireland, Shailesh Vara MP and Irish Minister Simin Harris join relatives and guests to take part in the Omagh Bomb Memorial Service in the Memorial Garden of Light ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Omagh bombing.

Twenty-nine people - including a woman pregnant with twins - were killed in a car bomb attack in the County Tyrone town in 1998. It was carried out by the dissident republican Real IRA, several months after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.
 
Photo by  Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th August 2018 - Minister of State for Northern Ireland, Shailesh Vara MP and Irish Minister Simin Harris join relatives and guests to take part in the Omagh Bomb Memorial Service in the Memorial Garden of Light ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Omagh bombing. Twenty-nine people - including a woman pregnant with twins - were killed in a car bomb attack in the County Tyrone town in 1998. It was carried out by the dissident republican Real IRA, several months after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press E

In her role as Police Ombudsman Mrs O'Loan published a 150 page report into the RUC's handling of the bomb in 2001.

The report was highly critical of the police and said that two warnings in the days before the bombing had not been passed to the RUC from the intelligence services. It was also critical of the internal police review that followed.

It led to the  infamous statement from Sir Ronnie Flanagan - the then chief constable of the PSNI - saying he would commit suicide if he found the claim police deliberately ignored intelligence which would have stopped Omagh, to be true.

Mrs O'Loan's report said that it would never be known if the bomb could have been prevented but the former Police Ombudsman has now changed her mind after new evidence came to light.

"The only finding in which I have changed my mind, regrettably, is that I said we could not know on the information whether the bomb could have been prevented," she told the BBC.

"My view now is that it could have been prevented, that had the various intelligence services worked in a more cohesive way and had the necessary action been taken by senior officers in the Special Branch. If that had been convened to the subdivisional commander in Omagh he could have just set checkpoints around the town and the affect of that could have been to drive the bombers to abandon their bomb outside the town."

She said that she believed a key warning before the bomb had been unjustly dismissed and called for a full public inquiry.

"There have been other enquiries, more information is available and I am now convinced that had they acted not just on that piece of intelligence on August 4, although that was dismissed I still think it was profoundly important, it was a very specific piece of information," Mrs O'Loan said.

"It was very detailed and gave names and all sorts of things. My feeling is the person who rang that warning in knew that something was going to happen, knew the date it was going to happen, didn't necessarily want to say exactly what it was, maybe from fear, but did want to be so informative that police would take action,

"No action was taken, the warning wasn't communicated and the bomb occurred and we know now that the intelligence services were tracking the movements of the car. Things could have been done, but that is no consolation for the people of Omagh. What we do need now is a full public inquiry to find out why this happened and how it could have been prevented.

"I am not yet convinced that the way in which we handle intelligence across the United Kingdom is adequate."

Ex-senior police officer Alan Mains, however, described the claim as "absolutely naive".

Relatives of those killed in the Omagh bombing have gathered to remember their loved ones 20 years after the explosion. Twenty-nine people, including a woman pregnant with twins, were killed when the car bomb ripped through Omagh on August 15, 1998.

"We did everything at that particularly time in terms of trying to disseminate the information and if there could have been prevention we would have taken that. So I'm quite astounded at Nuala O'Loan's assertions," he said.

Speaking earlier this week PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton said that he "deeply regrets" that nobody has been successfully prosecuted for the bombing but said that police had tried their best.

However, he did acknowledge that the changes of securing any conviction was "slim" unless new evidence came to light.

Belfast Telegraph