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Intelligence on Real IRA Omagh bomb was 'withheld from police'

But the information could not have prevented the attack according to a new report.

29 people were killed in the explosion.
29 people were killed in the explosion.
Image: PA Wire/Press Association Images

THE RUC SPECIAL Branch withheld information from officers investigating the Omagh Bomb, according to a report from the Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman.

The report found however that there was no intelligence available to police which, if acted upon, could have prevented the attack.

The Real IRA car bomb killed 29 people and two unborn children when it exploded in the Tyrone town on 15 August 1998.

Ombudsman Dr Michael Maguire found that phone numbers were not passed on from the Special Branch to investigators at the initial stages of the investigation, hampering it.

The report outlined that the Special Branch did not pass on this information because it believed the evidence was inadmissible and doing so risked jeopardising the credibility of the Omagh investigation.

The Ombudsman was “satisfied” that the reason for not passing on the information was based on a “reasonable understanding” of the law.

The report noted that neither this investigation nor an earlier 2001 probe found that there was intelligence available that could have prevented the attack.

Read the report in full >

Pics: Remembering the Omagh bomb that killed 29 people 15 years ago today >

Read: Man charged with Omagh bombing >

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About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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