Republic of Ireland news

Dublin government pledges trawl of Garda files to aid in hunt for Omagh bombers

From left Gerty McGlinn, Amanda McCallion, Frank Devlin, Cat Wilkinson, Stanley McCombe and Michael Gallagher representatives of Families of the Omagh bomb victims arrive at Government Buildings to meet the Taoiseach in Dublin for the first time . Picture by Niall Carson/PA Wire

THE Dublin government is to order a trawl of Garda files on the Omagh bombing to uncover any information that could assist their PSNI counterparts in bringing those responsible to justice.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and the Republic’s justice minister Frances Fitzgerald have made a commitment to relatives of victims that they will also finally respond to a 2012 report on the 1998 Real IRA attack that killed 29 people and injured over 200 others.

Members of the Omagh Support and Self Help Group travelled to Dublin for a meeting with the Fine Gael leader and his minister at Government Buildings last night.

Group spokesman Michael Gallagher, whose 21-year-old son Aidan died in the blast, today told The Irish News that meeting had been “tense and difficult” with “some very straight talking done”.

However, he described it as “positive”, revealing that Mr Kenny had made a number of commitments to relatives, including ordering a re-examination of all files and information held by gardaí to discover if they contained anything that could assist the PSNI.

“The taoiseach said he would assist us to get to the truth of Omagh,” Mr Gallagher said.

The campaigner, who is seeking a cross-border public inquiry into the atrocity, also said the government leader agreed to look at the “shortcomings” of the controversial Nally Report, which examined claims that gardaí had ignored intelligence that could have prevented the bombing.

Families have argued that key witnesses were never interviewed by the Nally Group, which was headed by the former secretary to the government Dermot Nally, and began its work in 2002.

Mr Gallagher pointed out that Mr Kenny had been highly critical of the report when he was in Opposition.

He also revealed that the taoiseach had pledged to relatives that one month after the conclusion of criminal proceedings in Northern Ireland the government would give its response to the confidential report they presented to the government in July 2012.

Mr Gallagher secured last night’s meeting after directly asking the taoiseach to speak with relatives when the Mayo TD was addressing the MacGill Summer School in Glenties in July.

He said the families had reached a point where they felt that only a “direct confrontation” would yield results in their long-running efforts to talk with Mr Kenny.

In a statement, the taoiseach said they had a “good and frank discussion” on the issues of concern to the group in relation to the Omagh bombing.

“I assured them that the government will continue to work with the people of Omagh to pursue every avenue to get to the truth to ensure that those who perpetrated this atrocity are brought to justice.

I told the group that the government would give a full response to all of the issues that they raised in the report that they submitted to the government following the conclusion of current criminal proceedings,” Mr Kenny said.

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