Decision to suppress Nally report condemned

Relatives of the those who died in the 1998 Omagh bomb have criticised the withholding of a report into allegations that the Garda police in the 26 Counties could have prevented the bombing, which claimed 29 lives.

The car-bomb had been driven by the dissident `Real IRA' across the border and parked in the centre of the County Tyrone town. Warning phonecalls proved ineffective and the bomb exploded with devastating effect on a crowded street in the County Tyrone town.

A team of investigators headed by Dermot Nally on Wednesday denied allegations that the Garda failed to pass on information to the RUC that could have prevented the attack.

There were also allegations of ministerial interference in the judicial process and unlawful and improper conduct by senior Garda officers.

The report was not made public, however, fuelling speculation that the role in the bombing of the police and their informers is being concealed.

Even the Police Ombudsman's office in the North, which originally investigated allegations that the RUC had foreknowledge of the attack, has not been supplied with a copy of the report. It was reported that the Ombudsman's office was surprised and dismayed at the outcome of the investigation.

One of the relatives of the victims, Victor Barkerm said he was disturbed by the decision to suppress the report.

``Why has it taken all this time to come up with a conclusion of a report which basically denies all the allegations that have been made?''

The Dublin government claimed large parts of the report could not be published because of legal constraints and ``national security''.

However, it emerged the person central to the entire report, a police informant, was not questioned. There was also an apparent contradiction between the Gardai and the PSNI on the level of information available on the planned bombing.

Fine Gael has called for ``a professional investigator of international repute'' to examine the two issues.

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