Taoiseach unable to attend Omagh bombing commemoration
LEO Varadkar's office has said the taoiseach is "not in a position to attend" tomorrow's event in Omagh to mark the 20th anniversary of the Real IRA bomb that killed 29 people.
Michael Gallagher, whose 21-year-old son Aidan was among those by the Real IRA bomb on August 15 1998, said Mr Varadkar and Secretary of State Karen Bradley's decision not to join relatives at upcoming commemorations in the Co Tyrone town was "extremely disrespectful".
Mrs Bradley will be represented at tomorrow's event in Omagh by Northern Ireland Office Minister of State Shailesh Vara.
The taoiseach's office said a senior government minister – understood to be Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys – will deputise for Mr Varadkar.
"The Omagh bombing in August 1998 was one of the most evil acts ever to be carried out on this island which had a devastating impact on so many people," the taoiseach's office said.
"The Irish government's deepest sympathies are with all the families who have been affected by this atrocity."