‘Cover-up of the century’, says Omagh campaigner
‘Cover-up of the century’, says Omagh campaigner

An Omagh man who lost his 21-year-old son in the 1998 bombing of the town has said it was “not only the crime of the century but possibly the cover-up of the century.”

Despite telephoned warnings, twenty-nine people, including a mother pregnant with twins, died when a bomb detonated in Omagh in August 1998. It subsequently emerged that state security forces provided the vehicle for the attack and closely monitored the movements of the device until the explosion, which was blamed on the Real IRA. No-one has been convicted of the murders.

Mr Gallagher’s, whose son Aidan died in the attack, made his comment following the publication of a report earlier this month by the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee at the Westminster parliament which criticises the British government for their response to the Omagh bomb ‘investigation’.

The committee was scathing of London for not allowing them access to a full report by intelligence chief Peter Gibson on intelligence available at the time of the explosion.

Mr Gallagher stated that the government would ‘not even allow’ the chairman of the NI Affairs Committee to view the report under ‘supervision’.

He said, “They are resisting at every corner to show this report which would have satisfied the NI Select Committee that Peter Gibson carried out an effective enquiry. I think it is obvious that he didn’t carry out an effective enquiry. In fact he carried out a defective enquiry,” Mr Gallagher continued.

“There is no doubt in my mind the government have a lot to hide here. The NI Select Committee is a parliamentary committee set up by the government themselves.

“When one government committee won’t share their report with another government committee, there is something fundamentally wrong. That is exactly the reason we need a public enquiry.”

The chairman of the Omagh Victims’ Group also suggested that it was a distraction by the government to claim that they were awaiting the outcome of the Bloody Sunday enquiry before deciding whether to hold an enquiry into Omagh bomb.

“They have always quoted the cost and length it has taken for the Bloody Sunday enquiry.

“I would tell those critics not to use the worst example of a public enquiry regarding costs and duration.

“The Hutton pubic enquiry into the death of the government scientist Dr Kelly lasted for 14 weeks and looked at the most sensitive areas of intelligence.

“The terms of reference for an enquiry into the Omagh bomb could be such that it wouldn’t take years or costs tens of millions of pounds,” Mr Gallagher continued.

“The truth is it has nothing to do with cost and they are using that a bogeyman,” he said.

“They are using this as an excuse not to tell the families and the country the truth. We will persevere and every year it is being shown that Omagh was not the crime of the Troubles but was the crime of the century and possibly the cover-up of the century,” Mr Gallagher added.

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