The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Rt Hon Theresa Villiers MP announced today that she has decided not to instigate a public inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the Real IRA bombing in Omagh on 15 August 1998.
The Secretary of State considered the Omagh Support and Self Help Group’s (OSSHG) call for a full, cross-border inquiry carefully and consulted a range of people before making a final determination.
Theresa Villiers said:
> First and foremost, I wish to express my sincere sympathies to the survivors of this horrific atrocity and the families of those who died.
I do not believe that there are sufficient grounds to justify a further review or inquiry above and beyond those that have already taken place or are ongoing.
This was not an easy decision to make and all views were carefully considered. I believe that the ongoing investigation by the Office of the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland is the best way to address any outstanding issues relating to the police investigation into the Omagh attack.
The fact remains that the Real IRA carried out the bombing in Omagh on 15 August 1998, murdering 29 people and injuring many more. Responsibility is theirs alone. I sincerely hope that the ongoing police investigation will bring to justice those responsible for this brutal crime.
I have met representatives of the Omagh Support and Self Help Group, as have a number of my predecessors as Secretary of State. I have offered to meet them again to explain my decision further if they wish.
Representations received by the Secretary of State showed there was support for an inquiry among a number of survivors and families of those killed in the bomb, but others felt that a further inquiry would cause them considerable trauma.
All these views were weighed against other factors, including the series of previous inquiries into the Omagh bomb and the current investigation by the Office of the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland.
The OSSHG has been informed of the Secretary of State’s decision.
A Written Ministerial Statement on the decision has been laid before Parliament.