OMAGH BOMBING: Victims call for action following judicial review into Troubles tragedy

OMAGH BOMBING: Victims call for action following judicial review into Troubles tragedy

FAMILIES of the victims of the Omagh bombing have called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to order a full public inquiry into the Troubles tragedy.

Some 29 people were killed when a car bomb detonated on Market Street in the Co. Tyrone town at 3.10pm on Saturday, August 15 1998 - including a woman who was pregnant with twins.

The bombing came just four months after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement and left more than 200 others injured.

The Real IRA attack was the single deadliest atrocity in the history of the Troubles and was condemned around the world, including by Sinn Féin figures such as Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness.

However no one has ever been convicted of involvement in the bombing.

This month SDLP West Tyrone MLA Daniel McCrossan joined victims of the attack to call on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to order a public inquiry into the incident.

Mr McCrossan wrote to the PM, with the support of the Omagh families, following a recent ruling by a judge which confirmed that there was a real prospect the bombing could have been prevented.

In October Justice Mark Horner, sitting at Belfast High Court, delivered his conclusions following the long-running Omagh Judicial Review.

There he said a new probe into the bombing should also examine whether a politically motivated "de-escalation" of the security approach to dissident republicans in the months before the 1998 attack resulted in crucial intelligence not being acted upon.

Earlier this year, in July, Mr Justice Horner delivered his conclusions on the judicial review, ruling it was potentially plausible that the attack could have been prevented.

He went on to recommend the British Government carry out a human rights-compliant investigation into alleged security failings in the lead-up to the August 1998 attack.

This month Mr McCrossan and the families of the bombing victims have urged Mr Johnson to act on the recommendations made.

“The SDLP has stood shoulder to shoulder with the families of the victims of Omagh for over two decades and I have long been part of their campaign for a full public inquiry into their loved ones’ deaths,” Mr McCrossan said.

“Following the ruling from Justice Horner this request can no longer be denied by the British government, there are still a number of important questions around exactly what happened on Omagh that day and the families need answers.”

He added: “These families have been through an unimaginable amount of heartache since that fateful day in 1998 and it’s extremely regrettable that all these years later they are still fighting for truth and justice.

“While nothing can ever repair the damage that was done, I know how much a full public inquiry would mean to them.

“I would urge Boris Johnson and Secretary of State Brandon Lewis to listen to these families. “To hear after all these years what many of them already knew, that the attack on their loved ones could have been prevented, was retraumatising for many of them and only solidified their determination to secure an inquiry.

“As Justice Horner said the threshold for an investigation into what happened has been met and there can be no more excuses or delay from the British government.”

In a statement made following Justice Horner’s judgement last month, Northern Ireland Secretary of State Brandon Lewis said: “My deepest sympathies go out to all those affected by the Omagh bombing.

“It was a great tragedy which resulted in unimaginable suffering for the families of those tragically killed and injured.

“The impact of this atrocity was also felt by individuals and communities across Northern Ireland and further afield.”

He added: “I want again to put on record my sincere regret that the families of those killed and wounded have had to wait so long to find out what happened on that terrible day in 1998.

“We will now carefully consider the full judgement.”