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Omagh bombers were ‘British agents’ claims relative
crime and justice |
Monday August 18, 2008 12:56 by Ciaran Gallagher - Member of SDLP Youth
Appearing in the Sunday Journal on 17th August 2008, page 2
On the 10th Anniversary of the Omagh bombings of August 15th 2008 in Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland, which left 29 people dead and more than 200 injured, a relative of a victim of the bomb has accused that British agents were responsible for carrying out the attacks.
Relatives of one of the victims of the Omagh bomb has told the SUNDAY that he believes those responsible for the atrocity ten years ago this weekend were agents.
Michael Gallagher, whose son Aidan died in the Real IRA outrage, has always been suspicious about informers inside the dissident organisation.
But on Friday, as he prepared to commemorate the 10th anniversary of his son’s murder in Omagh, Mr Gallagher made his most outspoken comments to date.
He told us: “There is no doubt now in my mind whatsoever that that is the reason why those responsible have never been brought to justice, that agents were involved. Now that ten years have passed there are those in the establishment who are hoping that we will go away, but if they think that they are very much mistaken.”
He agreed it is possible that those agents worked for the authorities in both the North and the Republic.
“Our fight for the truth will go on,” said Mr Gallagher.
“There has been a cover-up and we will fight to unravel that cover-up”.
The Sunday has learned that suspicion continued to fall on two men identified in an enquiry by the then Police Ombudsman Nuala O’Loan as Man A and Man B.
Both were agents, according to some security sources, yet never held over the bombing.
And leading members of the security forces who helped in the making of a BBC documentary about the bombing tried to cover up by failing to tell the BBC journalists about Man A and his role in the bombing.
O’Loan concluded that “Man A” should be considered a firm suspect for the bombing. His mobile phone was called from vehicles travelling towards Omagh, which have been identified as being used in the attack.
In July 2001, the People newspaper published an article reporting that a former agent Kevin Fulton had appeared before the Stevens enquiry investigating allegations of state collusion in paramilitary killings, where he charged that the man responsible for creating the bomb – Man A – was a British informant.
Fulton’s claim, along with his insistence that he had issued several warnings to his intelligence handlers that a bomb attack was imminent, led Nuala O’Loan to launch an enquiry into the allegations.
O’Loan’s report, published in December that year, stated that Fulton had contacted the RUC on five occasions between July and August 1998 regarding dissident republican activity. The report confirmed that there was a transcript of a tape confirming one of Fulton’s warnings.
She also concluded that a further 10-minute warning had been made on August 4, 1998, giving notice of an armed attack in Omagh scheduled for August 15.
The report named three other individuals and another whose nickname was dismissed by Special Branch, despite one of those named being a known dissident republican. O’Loan noted that had this warning led to vehicle checkpoints being set up the bomb could have been prevented.
O’Loan also pointed to an internal RUC report which was highly critical of the Omagh investigation procedure, noting, for example, that the remains of the car used in the blast – vital to forensic evidence – were left in a car park with only a tarpaulin. She also stated that details of the August 4 warning call were not passed on by Special Branch to the bomb investigation team.
Then RUC chief constable, Ronnie Flanagan, denounced the report and threatened to commit suicide if the allegations were true. A letter he and spin-doctors had sent to the newspaper denouncing the Fulton claims was comprehensively rubbished by O’Loan.
Flanagan was later appointed Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary.