Northern Ireland

Omagh relatives 'disappointed' by inquiry meeting

Omagh bomb
Image caption Twenty-nine people were murdered in the Omagh bomb attack

Relatives of those killed and injured in the Omagh bomb have said their first meeting with the secretary of state has been a disappointment.

The families met Owen Paterson to discuss calls for an independent inquiry into the 1998 atrocity.

Michael Gallagher, whose son died in the bomb, said they were hoping for a "new beginning, with a new government".

But after the meeting he said they were still no clearer on how they could work through the inquiry process.

Twenty-nine people, including a woman expecting twins, were murdered in the Real IRA atrocity in August 1998.


Twelve of their families were represented at the meeting with Mr Paterson on Wednesday.

Politicians from Sinn Fein, the SDLP, the UUP and Alliance also attended.

Mr Gallagher said the secretary of state had been generous with his time and promised to look at information they had given him.

He said Mr Paterson also gave a commitment that he would raise the matter with the Irish government, and would make a decision on whether to hold a full cross-border inquiry in January.

But the campaigners said they were disappointed that Mr Paterson did not give a commitment to work with their legal team.

Speaking before the meeting, Mr Gallagher had explained that the Omagh families were not asking for a lengthy or expensive inquiry.

He said previous inquiries - carried out by the police ombudsman and a House of Commons select committee - had only focused on narrow aspects of the atrocity and had raised as many questions as they had answered.

In June 2009, the families won a civil case against four men they blamed for the attack.

However, the only man found guilty in a criminal case of participating in the Omagh bomb, 58-year-old Colm Murphy, had his conviction overturned on appeal.

Murphy's nephew Sean Hoey was later found not guilty in a separate trial.

More on this story