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Wednesday 3 September 2014

Taoiseach to meet families of Omagh bomb

Lyndsey Telford

Published 08/05/2013 | 18:31

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TAOISEACH Enda Kenny has said he will meet relatives of the Omagh bomb as they continue their long battle for the truth of the "appalling tragedy".

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Mr Kenny said officials in his department would have to organise a pre-meeting with the families, who travelled to the Dail today in hope of securing a cross-border public inquiry.

"They will make the arrangements to meet with the Omagh relatives prior to the meeting themselves, and in due course, I will be happy to meet with them as I did before," Mr Kenny said.

"The truth is what is required here."

The Taoiseach said justice minister Alan Shatter had been unable to respond fully to an independent report into the atrocity that relatives handed him last summer.

He said while the minister had considered it "in part", he had not yet responded because of its "implications".

"In Northern Ireland, with its sad legacy, the truth is outstanding in a whole range of areas," Mr Kenny said.

"It's not a question about making points about this, it is trying to deal with the fact that these people have to carry on with their lives every day with the knowledge that a person or persons deliberately planted those bombs with the deliberate intent of causing murder and mayhem.

"That lingering emotion stays with those people every day until the truth is uncovered."

The 1998 Real IRA bomb killed 29 people, including a woman pregnant with twins.

It is considered the worst single atrocity in the history of the Northern Ireland Troubles.

Mr Shatter pledged last year to consult the Garda Commissioner on the relatives' calls for a cross-border public inquiry.

He met them in Dublin in July where they handed him an independent report reviewing all the investigations and court cases.

The relatives - forming the Omagh Support and Self Help Group - also challenged the Taoiseach to honour a commitment he made before taking office to fight for justice for those affected by the blast.

Michael Gallagher, whose son Aidan lost his life in the bomb, was among a delegation in the public gallery of the Dail chamber.

He was also one of the relatives who met Mr Shatter last July.

Mr Gallagher has claimed last year that the report handed to the minister, which included analyses of different strands of probes undertaken by MI5, MI6, the FBI and An Garda Siochana, found the bomb could have been prevented had the different forces shared intelligence.

The Taoiseach met Mr Gallagher and other relatives of victims of the blast when he was in opposition.

Since the Fine Gael and Labour coalition took office in March 2011, he has met relatives of victims of the 1976 Kingsmill Massacre, in Co Armagh, and the 1987 Enniskillen bomb.

Press Association

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