Omagh bombing: Independent inquiry announced by UK government

Real IRA bomb that exploded in Co Tyrone killed 29 people

The Real IRA bomb exploded in the Co Tyrone town on August 15th, 1998, killing 29 people, including a woman pregnant with twins. Hundreds more were injured.

Speaking on Thursday, Mr Heaton-Harris told MPs: “I have listened to the representations of these families and taken their varying perspectives into account. I have considered important factors such as the independence of any future investigation, the costs to the public purse and how best to allay wider public concern.

“I have weighed these up against the clear findings set out by the court, which we must meet for any investigation to be effective and compliant with our international obligations, and which are at the core of my decision.

Remembering Omagh: ‘There were stories we couldn’t write because they were too horrific’

“I intend to establish an independent statutory inquiry into the Omagh bombing.

“I have informed Mr (Michael) Gallagher, pictured left,  and members of the Omagh Support and Self Help Group, as well as representatives of Families Moving On, of this decision.”

In 2021, a British High Court judge recommended that the British government should carry out a human rights-compliant investigation into alleged security failings in the lead-up to the attack.

Mr Justice Horner found it was potentially plausible the attack could have been prevented.

His ruling came after a legal challenge by a bereaved family member against the government’s refusal to hold a public inquiry.

The judge also recommended that the Government in the Republic establish its own investigation.

  • Omagh and Buncrana are towns well-known to people from West Dunbartonshire. Buncrana was where many years ago St Michael’s Boys’ Guild from the West End of Dumbarton went for annual summer camps and were warmly welcomed by the people there. Lasting friendships were made. On the day of the bomb John McFall, the Dumbarton MP, who was a Minister in Tony Blair’s Labour government, was staying in nearby Hillsborough and went to the scene to offer condolences to the community. Mr McFall, who is now Speaker in the House of Lords, travelled to Spain for the funeral of one Spanish man who was killed and to visit young Spaniards, who had been injured in the atrocity and were – like the boys from Dumbarton had been before them – on holiday in Buncrana, Co Donegal.

The following list details the 29 people who died in the Omagh bombing:

  • James Barker, 12 years old, Buncrana, Co Donegal. Originally from Surrey, England.
  • Fernando Blasco Baselga 12 years old, from Madrid, Spain.
  • Geraldine Breslin, 43 years old, Omagh.
  • Deborah-Ann Cartwright, 20 years old, Omagh.
  • Gareth Conway, 18 years old, Carrickmore, Co Tyrone.
  • Breda Devine, 20 months, Donemana, Co Tyrone.
  • Oran Doherty, eight years old, Buncrana, Co Donegal.
  • Aiden Gallagher, 21 years old, Omagh.
  • Esther Gibson, 36 years old, Beragh, Co Tyrone.
  • Mary Grimes, 65 years old, Beragh, Co Tyrone.
  • Olive Hawkes, 60 years old, Omagh.
  • Julia Hughes, 21 years old, Omagh.
  • Brenda Logue, 17 years old, Omagh.
  • Ann McCombe, 45 years old, Omagh.
  • Brian McCrory, 54 years old, Omagh.
  • Samantha McFarland, 17 years old, Omagh.
  • Sean McGrath, 61 years old, Omagh.
  • Sean McLoughlin, 12 years old, Buncrana, Co Donegal.
  • Jolene Marlow, 17 years old, Omagh.
  • Avril Monaghan, 30 years old, Augher, Co Tyrone (who was pregnant with twins).
  • Maura Monaghan, 18 months, Augher, Co Tyrone.
  • Alan Radford, 16 years old, Omagh, Co Tyrone.
  • Rocio Abad Ramos, 23 years old, Madrid, Spain.
  • Elizabeth Rush, 57 years old, Omagh.
  • Veda Short, 46 years old, Omagh.
  • Philomena Skelton, 39 years old, Drumquin, Co Tyrone.
  • Fred White, 60 years old, Omagh.
  • Bryan White, 27 years old, Omagh.
  • Lorraine Wilson, 15 years old, Omagh.

Top picture: Boys and young men from Dumbarton who went to Buncrana on with St Michael’s Boys’ Guild, Dumbarton.

One comment

  1. The truth will never emerge about who was behind the Omagh Bombing.

    Setting of a bomb to discredit a group is not unknown behaviour.

    During the fight for independence in Rhodesia SAS special forces put a bomb on a school bus to do just that.

    Given how dirty the war was in Northern Ireland could undercover British military have done such a thing.

    Difficult to say. Given all of the covert operations in NI including British covert forces arming counter gangs and being involved in political assignation is possible. But we will never know. Dark deeds run deep.

    One thing for certain, the impact of the worldwide revulsion was such as to occasion an IRA ceasefire which was something 30 years of war didn’t achieve.

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