Report on Omagh bombing outlines remaining questions

16 March 2010

The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee today publishes its report examining the continuing impact of the Omagh bombing of 15 August 1998.

The Committee:

  • calls for new investigation into whether intelligence relating to those suspected of the bombing was passed on to the detectives investigating it, and if not, why not
  • concludes that questions remain about whether the bombing could have been pre-empted by action against terrorists who carried out earlier bombings in 1998
  • seeks a definitive statement on whether the names of those thought to have been involved in the bombing were known to the intelligence services, Special Branch, or the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) in the days immediately after the bombing, and if so, why no arrests resulted
  • asks the Government to justify the argument that the public interest is best served by keeping telephone intercepts secret rather than using them to bring murderers to justice
  • calls on the Intelligence and Security Committee to reconsider how any intercept intelligence was or was not used
  • criticises the Prime Minister for refusing the Chairman access to the Intelligence Services Commissioner’s review of how intercept intelligence gathered by GCHQ was used by Special Branch
  • recommends that the Government consider providing legal aid for the victims of terrorism if they bring civil actions against suspected perpetrators once criminal investigation has failed to bring a prosecution

The Committee’s Chairman, Sir Patrick Cormack MP, commented:

"Far too many questions remain unanswered. The criminal justice system has failed to bring to justice those responsible for the Omagh bombing. The least that those who were bereaved or injured have the right to expect are answers to those questions."

Image: PA

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