British refusing to publish Cory report

The Minister for Justice in the 26 Counties, Michael McDowell, has controversially refused to publish a report on allegations that the Garda police failed to act on a tip-off which could have prevented the 1998 Omagh bombing.

Allegations of Garda inaction in the Omagh bombing, ministerial interference in the judicial process, and unlawful conduct by senior Garda officers were all without foundation, he declared.

The Minister said the Nally report ``is a particularly lucid and compelling document, and I believe that if people had access to it, few, if any, would dispute its conclusions''.

But he said that, in order to safeguard the security of the State and protect future police operations, he could not publish the report.

Ruling out a public inquiry, the Minister said: ``There are no grounds for such an inquiry, and any repetition of unfounded allegations will not change that situation''.

The Gardai had been accused of failing to act on information on the car-bomb -- which was asssembled in the South and driven over the border -- in order to protect an informer in the dissident `Real IRA'.

The Minister did not say whether this was because the Gardai had successfully passed on the relevant information to the RUC police, or that the Gardai did not have information which could have prevented the bomb.

The `Real IRA' was behind the attack on the County Tyrone town, which claimed 31 lives after their warnings proved ineffective.

It has emerged that there is a sharp contradiction between the information supplied to the investigation team by the police on both sides of the border. In addition, the failure of the investigators to interview a man described as a key witness in the affair has baffled observers.

But the total ban on the publication of the report has distressed relatives of the victims, who have endured five years of sharply conflicting accounts of the attack. it has been suggested that elements of the security forces played a key role in the attack which has been likened by some to the bombings of Dublin and Monaghan in 1974.

Stanley McCombe, spokesman for the Omagh relatives, rejected the report findings and said families would only be satisfied when an inquiry, independent of the state, was carried out.

The Fine Gael leader, Enda Kenny, said he was not happy with the report because of the failure to interview the unnamed ``key participant'', understood to be an informer known as Pat Dixon.

Dixon's handler, Det Sgt John White's, has alleged that the bombing could have been prevented by the Gardai.

Det White had alleged that the Garda could have prevented the bombing if it had passed on information to the RUC about stolen cars used in the August 1998 attack.

This mirrored allegations in the North that the RUC Special Branch allowed the bombing to proceed for its own military or security reasons.

The Sinn Féin TD for Cavan/Monaghan, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, said he was unhappy that his party had not received a copy of the report when other Opposition parties had.


The Irish Prime Minister, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, has said the British would not yet be publishing the sections of the Cory Report presented to them which deal with four examples of collusion in murder.

Ahern confirmed the Irish Government will publish the parts of the report presented to it, most likely this week, possibly Thursday.

Judge Cory is reportedly unhappy with the continuing failure of the British government to publish his findings into the murders of lawyers Pat Finucane and Rosemary, the loyalist paramilitary Billy Wright, and Portadown man Robert Hamill.

It was further reported that he may write to the families of those murdered outlining his findings and recommendations if the British government does not.

The British governments has defended the delay by claiming the report has security and legal implications. But it is understood that the judge, well aware of these issues, phrased his report so as not to compromise the judicial process or national security in either Britain or Ireland.

Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has described as ``totally unacceptable'' the continued refusal of the British Government to publish the Report.

``Confirmation that the British government is delaying the publication of the Cory Report comes less than a week after Judge Barron exposed that government's lack of co-operation with his inquiry,'' he said.

``Now we see the British dragging their heels on the publication of another report highlighting collusion.

``It is widely accepted nationally and internationally that Pat Finucane was murdered as a direct result of collusion between British intelligence and loyalist paramilitaries, including the notorious agent Brian Nelson.

``The Irish government should set its face against any publication of a partial or censored version of the Cory Report by the British and should demand its immediate publication in full.''

Sinn Féin colleague Gerry Kelly described the delay as ``yet another stalling tactic by the British to try and keep the lid on the collusion scandal''.

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