Irish Republican News · January 24, 2008
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: Now tell the truth, Flanagan urged
Now tell the truth, Flanagan urged

Former RUC/PSNI police chief Ronnie Flanagan last night apologised to the families of people killed in the 1998 Omagh bomb.

Flanagan, however, insisted that he would not resign from his current post of chief inspector of the British inspectorate of constabulary. He made his comments after he met English lawyer Victor Barker, whose son James was killed in the August 1998 attack.

Mr Barker, speaking ahead of the meeting, said that he was calling on Flanagan to apologise for his overall leadership of the original Omagh ‘investigation’. He called on Flanagan, who is also identified with controversial police decisions made before and after the bomb detonated, to resign from his current position.

When doorstepped by Channel 4 outside Mr Barker’s offices last night, ‘Sir Ronnie’ at first refused to say anything but when the journalist persisted he made a number of brief comments.

“I absolutely publicly apologise to the families in Omagh. I feel desperately sorry that we have not to this point brought people to justice for that terrible attack,” he said.

“I publicly apologise to all the families, and all the victims, and all those who suffered, without reservation,” he added.

The Omagh bomb ‘investigation’ finally culminated last year with the disastrous and failed attempt to frame Sean Hoey.

Last month the South Armagh man was cleared of the bombing and a series of republican attacks. The trial judge strongly attacked the PSNI’s handling of the case, and suggested senior members of the force had been involved in a cover-up.

The current chief of the PSNI, Hugh Orde, said last week that it is unlikely anyone will now be found guilty of the bombing. It was also revealed that two members of the PSNI, who were found to have lied during the trial of Mr Hoey, had been “repositioned” within the force.

Flanagan is now being urged to build on his apology by co-operating with an independent inquiry to establish the truth behind the tragedy in which 29 people died.

Michael Gallagher, whose son Aidan was among 29 people killed in the 1998 Real IRA attack, said a proper cross-border inquiry was now needed.

“Obviously this is a positive thing,” he said.

“However I think it is important people remember that there have been investigations into the Omagh bomb in Northern Ireland and the Republic for over nine and a half years.

“There have been serious failings at all levels on both sides of the border and the only way to address all these issues is through a comprehensive independent cross-border public inquiry rather than having them raised in a piecemeal fashion.

“Sir Ronnie is someone who could bring a lot of knowledge and help to an independent inquiry and I would hope he would freely go and open up.”

© 2008 Irish Republican News