Bombings: Omagh

Northern Ireland Office written question – answered am ar 29 Ionawr 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Baroness Foster of Aghadrumsee Baroness Foster of Aghadrumsee Non-affiliated

To ask His Majesty's Government what discussions they have held with the government of Ireland regarding the possibility of that government establishing a public inquiry into the Omagh bombing of 1998.

Photo of Lord Caine Lord Caine Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Northern Ireland Office), Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)

In October 2021, the Northern Ireland High Court found that an Article 2 compliant investigation into the Omagh bombing had not taken place, citing four grounds which the Court held could give rise to plausible arguments that there was a real prospect of preventing the Omagh Bomb. The Gallagher judgement also expressed a desire that a simultaneous Article 2 compliant investigation occur in Ireland, though it recognised that it was not within the Court’s power to order a cross-border investigation.

In response to the findings of the Court, the Secretary of State announced in February 2023 that the Government would establish an independent statutory inquiry into the Omagh bombing. In June 2023, the Secretary of State appointed Lord Alan Turnbull as Chairman of the Omagh Bombing Inquiry. The Government continues working at pace to finalise the Inquiry’s Terms of Reference as soon as possible.

While this is, of course, a matter for the Irish Government, the UK Government is keen to understand what consideration it has given, since the Gallagher judgement, to the setting up of an investigation in Ireland to discharge its obligations under Article 2 of the European Convention of Human Rights. This issue was directly raised most recently by me at the British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference on 28 November 2023.

This is one of several legitimate questions regarding the Irish Government’s record of dealing with legacy matters in its own jurisdiction.

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