11 May 2006

US pledges to help close Real-IRA-linked website


11/05/2006 - 15:50:10

The US government will do what it can to help shut down a website linked to the terror group behind the Omagh bombing, the families of the victims were told today.

Relatives of some of those who died in the Real IRA atrocity spent over an hour in talks with the US consul general to Belfast, Dean Pittman.

Michael Gallagher, whose son Aiden was among the 29 who died in the no-warning 1998 bombing, said they were anxious to have the website of the 32 County Sovereignty Movement closed, especially its noticeboard which he described as particularly offensive.

He added: "Mr Pittman said if there was anything they could do they would do it in support of the families."

The website service provider is in Canada, but it has a sister company in the US. The group is on the Bush administration's international terrorist list, he said.

"The Consul General said he had already talked to the US embassy in London about the issue and had been asked by London to talk to the families," said Mr Gallagher.

He added: "There was nothing he could guarantee us, except that our allegations about the site would be seriously looked at - and if it is possible to do something they will do it.

"He said the US has very good relations with Canada. We are asking the US government to talk to their Canadian cousins and say this website is contrary to the current climate of putting pressure on terrorists and terrorist supporters."

Speaking on behalf of the Omagh families, Mr Gallagher said the meeting had gone well and Mr Pittman had pledged to keep them informed of any progress.

The families used the meeting to thank the US administration for their support in the civil action against five men they suspect of plotting the bombing.

The landmark case at the High Court in Belfast will not be heard until after the trial of South Armagh man Sean Hoey, the only man accused of involvement in the Omagh bombing. The trial is expected to open in September.

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