Victim's father Michael Gallagher outside Belfast High Court

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Victim's father Michael Gallagher outside Belfast High Court

Families of 1998 Real IRA bomb victims go to court over failings that allowed killers to walk free

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Friday, August 11, 2017 – 6:32am

Relatives of the people killed in the Omagh bombing are to sue Northern Ireland’s police chief for failings they believe allowed the culprits to walk free.

Twenty-nine people, including a woman pregnant with twins, were killed in the attack in 1998. It was the greatest single loss of life in any terror atrocity during the Troubles and almost derailed the Good Friday peace agreement, signed earlier that year.

Although the Real IRA claimed responsibility, no-one has ever been found guilty of the bombing in a criminal court. However, the Omagh Support and Self Help Group, representing the victims’ relatives, however, successfully sued four republicans, whow were found liable for the bombing at a civil trial.

Now, in what The Guardian calls “the the latest legal twist in their two-decade quest for justice and answers”, the people who lost loved ones in the attack have issued a writ against Chief Constable George Hamilton. At the time, he was responsible for the Royal Ulster Constabulary, the precursor to the president-day Police Service of Northern Ireland.

According to the BBC, police ombudsman reports have raised “serious concerns” about the investigation into the bombing, citing missed evidential opportunities, a failure to share intelligence information and inexplicable delays in arresting suspects. The families are seeking damages and a declaration that their human rights were breached.

Sky News says the families “are also pursuing judicial review proceedings against the government’s decision not to hold a public inquiry into claims the attack could have been prevented if it had not been for a series of intelligence failings”.

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