THERE WILL BE no public inquiry into the 1998 Omagh bombing, Northern Ireland’s Secretary of State announced today.
Theresa Villiers said she arrived at the decision not to instigate the probe as she does not believe there are sufficient grounds to justify a further review.
The MP had been considering a proposal by the Omagh Support and Self Help Group for a full, cross-border investigation.
“First and foremost, I wish to express my sincere sympathies to the survivors of this horrific atrocity and the families of those who died,” she said in a statement.
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 into the Omagh attack.
The Real IRA bomb killed 29 people (including a woman pregnant with twins) in the Tyrone town on 15 August 1998.
The Omagh Support and Self Help Group and Amnesty International have campaigned for a public inquiry as families believe there are many questions about the attack that remain unanswered.
Villiers has offered to meet them again to explain her decision further, adding that she hopes the ongoing police investigation will bring justice.
Her department said that there was a divide among survivors and families about a public inquiry, with some offering support for one, while others believed it could cause them “considerable trauma”.
“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.”