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Wednesday, 15 August, 2001, 16:33 GMT 17:33 UK
Omagh bomb victims remembered
Bereaved and injured people attend third Omagh memorial
Bereaved and injured attend third Omagh memorial
The husband of one of the victims of the Omagh bombing has criticised the police for failing to bring those responsible to justice.

Lawrence Rushe's rebuke came when he interrupted a joint RUC/Garda appeal for information on the third anniversary of the attack on Wednesday.

Twenty-nine people died and more than 200 were injured on 15 August 1998 when the bombers left a massive car bomb in Omagh town centre.

Speaking at a memorial service in Omagh earlier on Wednesday, the RUC Chief Constable, Sir Ronnie Flanagan, said he and his colleagues in the Gardai were doing all they could.

"We are completely determined that all resources that are necessary will continue to be provided to this investigation which remains very much a live investigation," he said.

Lawrence Rushe:
Lawrence Rushe: "Are you an incompetent force?"

Mr Rush accused the authorities of "a conspiracy" in not preventing the bomb and convicting those responsible.

The dissident republican group, the Real IRA admitted planting the bomb, but no-one has been convicted of the attack.

At the news conference in Belfast, the RUC and Garda Siochana renewed their appeal to the public to help them in their investigation.

Mr Rushe's wife Libby was killed in what was the worst single atrocity in more than 30 years of the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

Speaking on Wednesday, Superintendent James Baxter, the RUC's Omagh commander, and Garda Superintendent Tadgh Foley said only public help would help them "fill the gap" between what they knew and what they could prove.

However, 72-year-old Mr Rushe said: "I have interrupted this because I came here to find the guilty.

Knowing the names and suspecting people of carrying out this atrocity is not enough. We need evidence to bring them before the courts

Superintendent Tadgh Foley
"I represent myself and, I hope, 30 other families. I am just disgusted by the lack of co-operation we have had from all levels.

"Are you a completely incompetent force?"

He added that the Real IRA said it was sorry for Omagh, but had continued its bombing campaign in Northern Ireland and London and that it was "only a matter of time before these people kill again".

Both Mr Baxter and Mr Foley vehemently denied that there was any conspiracy.

Superintendent Baxter said that after three years investigating, his officers were just as enthusiastic and determined to bring the bombers before the courts.

James Baxter, RUC and Tadgh Foley, Garda:
James Baxter, RUC and Tadgh Foley, Garda: "We need public help"
He said: "We are looking for help from the public and we feel there is a moral obligation on anyone who has information to bring that forward to bring those responsible to justice."

Garda Commissioner Pat Byrne is among a number of senior policemen on both sides of the border who have said they know the identities of the dissident republican paramilitaries who carried out the bombing.

But Superintendent Foley said: "Knowing the names and suspecting people who have knowledge of people who carried out this atrocity is not enough. We need evidence to bring them before the courts".

'Republicans must help'

Michael Gallagher, from the Omagh Self-Help and Support Group, whose son Aidan died in the blast, also addressed the news conference

He said he believed the knowledge that could convict the bombers "lay within the republican community" and appealed to "decent people" to contact the police.

Michael Gallagher:
Michael Gallagher: "Republican community must pass on what they know"
Mr Gallagher and other relatives of those who died have launched a civil action against five men with alleged links to the Real IRA.

They said they felt it was their last hope for justice.

On Wednesday, the injured and bereaved attended an interdenominational prayer service in the Garden of Remembrance in the town, constructed near the scene of the explosion.

One man is currently awaiting trial in the Irish Republic, accused of conspiracy to cause explosions.

The BBC's Kevin Connolly
"The bereaved families are now bringing private prosecution"
RUC Chief Constable Ronnie Flanagan:
"We are completely determined that all resources that are necessary will continue to be provided to this investigation"
Lawrence Rushe, whose wife Libby was killed
"I have interrupted this because I came here to find the guilty"
Panorama journalist, John Ware
"The police have been defeated by silence"
See also:

15 Aug 01 | Northern Ireland
Living with the aftermath of Omagh
23 Jan 01 | Northern Ireland
Dissidents behind bomb attack
03 Aug 01 | Northern Ireland
Dissident threat 'real and growing'
15 Aug 01 | Northern Ireland
Police renew Omagh bomb appeal
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