Police 'missed chance to stop Omagh bombing'

 

Fresh evidence that police could have intercepted the Omagh bombers before they committed the atrocity has been uncovered in a new independent inquiry, victims' relatives have claimed.

Bereaved families who commissioned the report said it has identified "hard proof" that officers on both sides of the Irish border were involved in a live operation on the day of the attack.

Twenty-nine people, including a woman pregnant with twins, were killed when the Real IRA bomb ripped through the Co Tyrone market town on August 15 1998.

The family campaigners have previously demanded a cross-border inquiry into whether the authorities in Northern Ireland and in the Republic of Ireland could have done more to prevent the bombing.

Relatives who commissioned the report met Northern Ireland Secretary Owen Paterson in Belfast today ahead of presenting the final version to the UK Government next month.

Michael Gallagher, whose 21-year-old son Aiden was murdered in the attack, said the meeting was "hot and heavy".

"We told him we have evidence that there was a live police operation going on on August 15 that could have intercepted the bombers," he said.

"This is new evidence that hasn't been made public before."

He added: "We also have evidence that public officials lied to the general public about the Omagh bombing.

"We will be producing all of that evidence to him on June 18."

Mr Gallagher said he would not be outlining full details of the evidence unearthed until the report had been passed to the Government.

The Omagh Support and Self Help Group commissioned the report from a group of London-based consultants who have interviewed key figures associated with the case.

The consultants have also examined material already compiled on the bombing.

The documentation includes police reports from both sides of the Irish border, a probe carried out by the Police Ombudsman in Northern Ireland, plus a government-sponsored review of how intelligence on the attack was handled.

The relatives also secured disclosure of other documents linked to the case.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders