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Government does not propose all-Ireland Omagh inquiry, says Tánaiste

Eamon Gilmore says that gardaí and the PSNI will maintain a close relationship, but that the govt isn’t pushing for an all-island inquiry.

Emergency services on the scene of the Omagh carbomb attack on 15 August 1998.
Emergency services on the scene of the Omagh carbomb attack on 15 August 1998.
Image: Paul McErlane/PA Wire

THE GOVERNMENT has no plans to propose an all-Ireland inquiry into the Omagh bombing of August 1998 in which 29 people, including a woman pregnant with twins, were killed.

Responding to a question from Fianna Fáil TD Eamon O’Cuív, Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore said that the government “does not propose to establish” such an inquiry into the bombing. However, gardaí will maintain close contact with the PSNI “regarding all matters of cross-border crime”.

“The search for closure by those who have been affected by this atrocity has not been an easy or swift process,” Gilmore said, and any new evidence related to the bombing “will be fully pursued in the spirit of this enhanced relationship” between the gardaí and PSNI.

Earlier this month, the father of one of the victims told the House of Commons Northern Ireland Affairs committee that new details about the bombing had emerged and he urged both the British and Irish government to establish an all-Ireland inquiry. The committee had travelled to Omagh to lay a wreath at a memorial garden and to meet with victims’ relatives.

Michael Gallagher, father of victim Aidan Gallagher, said that a London law firm had uncovered the evidence which would strengthen calls for such an inquiry, but did not elaborate on that evidence. He said a report is currently being compiled using the new information.

The victims’ families won a civil action against against four men over the bombing. One of those men was convicted in connection with the Real IRA attack, but that conviction was later overturned on appeal.

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