Irish Government Notes Decision On UK Statutory Inquiry Into Omagh Bombing.

“An appalling act of savagery and evil.”

Quote – Former British Prime Minister Mr Tony Blair.

The Minister for Justice, Mr Simon Harris, has today, noted the decision by the UK Government to establish a Statutory Inquiry on foot of the judgment in the Belfast High Court.

Minister Harris said: “What happened at Omagh was an unspeakable and brutal act of cruelty. The terrorists who carried it out had simply no sense of humanity and they displayed a complete and shocking disregard for life itself. It is they who carry responsibility for this brutal act.
We will never forget those who lost their lives, those who were injured and the families whose suffering for their loved ones continues.
The Irish Government is deeply conscious of the enduring suffering and hardship that survivors of Troubles-related attacks bear. The Government has always sought to acknowledge and address the legitimate needs and expectations of victims’ families and survivors of Troubles-related attacks.
It is the case, of course, that a number of reviews/investigations have previously taken place in this jurisdiction with regard to Omagh.
I will be discussing today’s announcement with my Government colleagues and we will, of course, consider what further action is required on our part, in response to the UK Government’s decision to establish an inquiry.
I look forward to receiving further detail on the proposed UK Inquiry as it becomes available.”

Omagh Bombing Saturday August 15th 1998

At around 2:30, three phone calls had been made warning of a bomb in Omagh, using the same codeword that had been used in the Real IRA’s bombing in Banbridge, two weeks earlier: “Martha Pope”. “There’s a bomb, courthouse, Omagh, main street, 500lb, explosion thirty minutes.” The caller claimed the warning was given on behalf of “Óglaigh na hÉireann,” [Irish – “The Defense Forces of Ireland”.]

The Omagh bomb exploded on August 15th 1998, killing 29 people including a woman pregnant with twins and injuring 220 other people.
In 1989, a then recently-formed dissident republican group, calling itself the ‘Real IRA’, claimed responsibility for the bomb and in a statement, confirmed that its targets were “commercial” while offering an apology to the victims.

In 2002, a dissident republican Mr Colm Murphy, aged 49, was found guilty of plotting to cause the Omagh bombing.

The Provisional Irish Republican Army’s Quartermaster General Mr Michael McKevitt, in protest allegedly founded and became leader of the Real IRA in 2003. The latter was found guilty of directing terrorism between August 29th 1999 and October 23rd 2000 and being a member of an illegal organisation, here in the Irish Republic.

In 2009 a judge in a civil trial ruled that Mr Michael McKevitt, Mr Liam Campbell, Mr Colm Murphy and Mr Seamus Daly were all liable for the Omagh bombing. They were ordered to pay a total of £1.6m in damages to the 12 relatives, who had taken a civil case.

Mr Liam Campbell and ‘Real IRA’ leader Mr Michael McKevitt, took their case to the European Court of Human Rights, arguing that the civil trial in Belfast High Court, had been unfair. Both cases were rejected. Mr McKevitt was officially released from prison in March, 2016, and died on January 2nd 2021, at the age of 71 years, following a six year battle with cancer.

In 2020, a Fermanagh and Omagh District Council committee passed a motion opposing the extradition of Mr Liam Campbell to Lithuania, regarding their allegations that he was part of an operation to purchase guns and explosives for the ‘Real IRA.’

At least one family member, of an Omagh bomb victim, now resides in Co. Tipperary.


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