29 November 2005

Blair rules out amnesty for Omagh bombers


29/11/2005 - 18:05:45

Relatives of the victims of the Omagh bombings today said they had received assurances from British Prime Minister Tony Blair that no one connected with the 1998 atrocity would be granted an amnesty, even if they are members of Sinn Féin or the IRA.

Representatives of the 29 victims and those injured in the blast held talks lasting 45 minutes with Mr Blair at 10 Downing Street to press their case for a full cross-border public inquiry.

Speaking after the talks, they said that Mr Blair had told them an inquiry would be impossible until current civil and criminal court cases arising from the blast were completed, but did not rule out meeting their request after that point.

Michael Gallagher, whose son Aiden, 21, was killed in the no-warning attack, said Mr Blair had been “very supportive and as helpful as he could have been”.

But he said Mr Blair did not seem to be “up to speed” with some details of the inquiry - something that was acceptable, given the complexity of the case.

He said Mr Blair had offered the assistance of a senior civil servant to help the families with their work and had promised to look at a dossier which they had prepared making the case for an inquiry.

One man is currently facing charges in connection with the Co Tyrone blast, which resulted in the largest single loss of life of the Troubles.

But the trial of Sean Hoey (aged 36) of Jonesborough, Co Armagh, is unlikely to go ahead until well into next year.

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