Northern Ireland news

Nationalist commentator criticised for Omagh bomb comments

Media commentator Jude Collins was criticised last night for controversial comments made in relation to the Omagh bomb
Marie Louise McConville

A nationalist commentator has been criticised for making "absolutely despicable "comments in relation to the Omagh bomb after he said those killed were not murdered.

Writing on his blog yesterday - on the 20th anniversary of the atrocity - Jude Collins, who is a regular caller to the Nolan Show on BBC Radio Ulster, said the 31 victims "are often spoken of as being murdered".

He continued: "There were events that occurred during the Troubles that were indeed murder – that is, the killers set out to and succeeded in killing innocent people.

"If we consider the pattern of events for some months before Omagh, the signs are that it wasn’t murder: the Real IRA didn’t set out to deliberately slaughter the good and defenceless people they did".

The comments resulted in a backlash from public representatives.

Omagh Ulster Unionist councillor Chris Smyth described the comments as "absolutely despicable".

"If you build a bomb, transport it to a town and abandon it on a busy shopping street, and it detonates creating multiple innocent victims, then the only word for that is murder.

"Jude Collins’s comments in seeking to minimise the enormity of the horror visited on Omagh are beneath contempt".

DUP Belfast councillor Dale Pankhurst said he was "utterly disgusted".

"It was murder: it was cold, it was calculated, it was mass murder by republican terrorists"

Mr Pankhurst added: "It is utterly pathetic and depraved.

"He should never be given any airtime on any show or any writing space in any newspaper ever again. Vile".

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