Irish Republican News · May 21, 2007
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
McGuinness backs Omagh bomb inquiry

Sinn Féin is prepared to co-operate with any independent, international inquiry into the 1998 Omagh bomb, it has been confirmed.

Martin McGuinness, the Six-County deputy first minister, made the pledge as relatives of victims intensified their campaign for a cross-border investigation.

The assistance would expose PSNI police failures and throw light on allegations that British forces knew of the attack in advance, Mr McGuinness said.

“Republicans would be only too glad to co-operate with any independent, international investigation into the bomb explosion, because we think the PSNI themselves have questions to answer.”

He added: “There’s a very strong belief within Irish republicanism that the PSNI not only failed to investigate the Omagh bomb properly, but that the RUC actually knew about the bomb before it took place.”

A bomb warning by the breakaway ‘Real IRA’ was not acted upon, leading to the deaths of 29 people and causing a massive backlash against the republican splinter group.

The families of the victims have demanded an independent inquiry into Omagh, a case plagued by controversy over what intelligence the PSNI (then RUC) possessed and passed on to officers on the ground.

Meanwhile, a bid by County Louth man Colm Murphy to stop his retrial on conspiracy charges connected with the bombing will come before the High Court on Tuesday.

The trial was scheduled to open before the non-jury Special Criminal Court last January, but has been deferred pending the outcome of the judicial review challenge.

Mr Murphy claims the systemic delay in prosecuting him has prejudiced his right to a fair and speedy trial. That delay included an extraordinary three-year delay by the DPP in bringing perjury charges against two garda policemen who gave evidence at his first trial, which opened in 2001.

Mr Murphy was freed on bail in 2005 after the Court of Criminal Appeal quashed his conviction and 14-year sentence for conspiracy offences connected with the bombing.

The appeal court overturned the conviction and ordered a retrial after finding the original trial judges had disregarded falsified Garda interview notes.

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© 2007 Irish Republican News