Irish Republican News · August 3, 2004
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: OMAGH WITNESS KEPT HIDDEN
OMAGH WITNESS KEPT HIDDEN

An informer said to be wanted for questioning by the PSNI police about the Omagh bombing is living in Britain under a government witness-protection scheme and using a false name, it has been reported.

The man known as “Paddy Dixon”, who gave the 26-County Garda police information about stolen cars used by the breakaway ‘Real IRA’ in the months before the Omagh bombing, was arrested at an airport in Wales. He had arrived from Dublin with relative and a briefcase full of money, according to a Sunday Times report.

Dixon, who initially gave his cover name, later alerted the authorities to his identity and said that the Gardai had given him the money as part of their “witness protection program”.

Detectives in the North have said they want to interview Dixon about a claim that he gave information to the Gardai that was not shared with them about a car used in the blast.

The actions of the police in connection with the 1998 Omagh bombing, in which 31 people died, remains a source of controversy. Allegations that the bombing was allowed to proceed for strategic military purposes were not dispelled by a report by the North’s police ombudsman, Nuala O’Loan, who was scathing of the handling of information which could have prevented the atrocity and failures of the subsequent police investigation.

Michael Gallagher, a spokesman for the relatives of the Omagh victims and families, has now demanded that Dixon be made available to the PSNI.

Dixon was held for about three hours on July 21 but was released without charge. Customs officials at Cardiff airport have claimed that they neglected to check his record and were unaware that he was wanted for questioning.

According to one of Dixon’s former handlers, Detective Garda John White, Dixon passed on information that a car was being sought for a bombing in the North 24 hours before the Omagh bomb killed 29 people. The information was never acted upon for reasons still unknown.

An inquiry ordered by Michael McDowell, Dublin’s justice minister, last year rejected criticsm of the Gardai and held that White’s claims were without foundation, contradicting a finding of the North’s police ombudsman. The Dublin investigation was held in private and was dismissed by some commentators as a cover-up.

Dixon’s real identity was revealed in High Court documents prepared at garda headquarters. Dixon fled the country and remains in hiding, from where he is seeking a reported one million Euros from the 26-County state.

© 2004 Irish Republican News