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Omagh bombing public enquiry ruled out

Mourners lay tributes after the Omagh bombing in 1998

THE BRITISH Government has ruled out a public inquiry into the Omagh bombing.

Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers said a further review or inquiry into the 1998 Real IRA attack could not be justified.

The Co. Tyrone blast was among the worst atrocities of the Troubles, killing 29 people.

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Relatives of the victims had called for a probe by the British and Irish governments into whether more could have been done to prevent it.

Today (Thursday), Ms Villiers responded to their campaign saying: “I do not believe that there are sufficient grounds to justify a further review or inquiry above or beyond those that have already taken place or are ongoing.

“This was not an easy decision to make and all views were carefully considered.

“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.”

Reacting to news, Michael Gallagher, whose son Aidan was murdered in the attack, said the family will be calling for a judicial review of Ms Villiers’ decision.

“We can’t understand why the government aren’t giving us a full public inquiry,” he told the BBC.

“The reasons that they’ve indicated we feel are very weak and we will be going straight for a judicial review of that decision.

“We’ll be meeting our lawyers tomorrow and we’ll plot a way forward, but we’ll be moving very quickly for a judicial review of this decision.

“The information we have is voluminous, it clearly indicates that there were opportunities to prevent this bombing and we will put our evidence before the courts and let the judge decide.”

The victims’ families have claimed they have evidence showing there was substantial intelligence warning of a possible attack by dissident republicans.

They believe that information was not acted on because it was not shared between police forces north and south of the border.

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Niall O Sullivan
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Niall O’Sullivan is a reporter at The Irish Post. You can follow him on @Niall_IrishPost on Twitter

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