Belfast Telegraph

Omagh Bomb victims still being denied justice

Editor's Viewpoint

After the Omagh bombing the authorities pledged that no stone would be left unturned in efforts to hunt down, prosecute and jail those responsible for the atrocity that killed 29 people and injured hundreds more.

Those efforts turned out to be pretty insipid, with no one ever having been convicted of the bombing. The bereaved and injured felt let down to the extent that they took civil action against those they believed were involved.

But now it emerges further hurt has been heaped on the injured, with two people still awaiting compensation an incredible 18 years after the massacre.

These two people are believed to be among the most severely injured.

It can be accepted that compensation claims take a considerable length of time to be resolved, especially if there are disputed facts. Yet for the matter to drag on for almost two decades stretches the process to almost beyond breaking point.

Quite naturally, the public at large would expect the State in this exceptional case to pull out all the stops to ease the hurt of those bereaved and injured. These were people who went shopping or worked in the market town that August day and were caught up in a maelstrom of horror almost beyond belief.

It was the worst atrocity of the Troubles, carried out by dissident republicans.

For those who survived and for the relatives of those killed the intervening years have done little to lessen their pain. They are far from finding any closure, never mind justice. Those who brought death into the town still walk free and two of the victims still await compensation for their many injuries.

It must appear to them that the State and its agencies have failed them.

They feel exhausted after a seemingly interminable wait for some sort of justice, some sort of recognition of what they have been through.

And it has to be remembered that it is not just those injured in the bombing who have suffered in the last 18 years, but also their families, who have had to help them cope with the mental and physical scars. How can they hope to move on with their lives while still having to recall that fateful day and how their lives were disastrously changed?

Surely this compensation process can be concluded speedily.

As things stand, Omagh has become a byword for broken promises and shattered hopes.

Belfast Telegraph


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