BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh

 You are in: UK: Northern Ireland
Front Page 
Northern Ireland 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

Tuesday, 31 July, 2001, 15:10 GMT 16:10 UK
Omagh relatives meet Northern secretary
Omagh bombing
The aftermath of the Omagh bombing
Relatives of those killed in the Omagh bombing have had a two hour meeting at Stormont with the Northern Ireland Secretary of State John Reid.

Afterwards Michael Gallagher, who lost his son in the explosion, said they had been assured that the investigation into the atrocity was still live.

Twenty-nine people died when a Real IRA bomb exploded in the County Tyrone town on 15 August 1998.

Hundreds of others were injured.

Mr Gallagher said he was frustrated to see murders continue three years after Northern Ireland politicians had "taken the money" of the new political institutions established by the Good Friday Agreement.

They just don't want to know us, it's just bury our dead and just go away

Godfrey Wilson

"It is only continuing our pain to say we're here at Stormont and these people have taken the money and said they could resolve our problems, yet three years on we're still seeing young people and fathers and mothers being murdered on the streets of Northern Ireland," he said.

Reacting to the murder of Protestant teenager Gavin Brett in County Antrim on Sunday, he added: "It is extremely sad that his father was somebody who reached out to other people in tragedy and has had to go under these terrible circumstances.

"We feel that pain, and it is up to these people who have accepted the money and said they could resolve this, it is time they got on and did that."

'Become a burden'

Godfrey Wilson, who lost his 15-year-old daughter, said they felt as if they had become a burden.

"We're just victims and as far as I can see the system would wish us - what has been happening for the past 30 years - to go away and there will be more victims created the way things are going," he said.

"They just don't want to know us, it's just bury our dead and just go away."

Lawrence Rush, who lost his wife Libbi in the bombing, said the families were "very perturbed" by the lack of commitment from the secretary of state.

Earlier this year, victims' relatives said Prime Minister Tony Blair's assurances that the bombers would be brought to justice and the so-called Real IRA disbanded had proved hollow.

In February, former Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Mandelson said he was donating 10,000 towards a campaign to sue the Omagh bombing suspects.

No-one charged

The Omagh Victims' Legal Trust is attempting to raise 1m by August to bring a civil action against the alleged perpetrators of the car bomb.

No-one has been charged with the murders, but one man is currently awaiting trial in the Irish Republic accused of conspiracy to cause explosions.

Relatives say "desperation" at the lack of prosecutions had prompted them to pursue the major suspects in the civil courts.

Such a case requires a lower burden of proof than criminal proceedings.

Relatives would seek financial compensation for the killings, although they say money is not the motivation behind the case.

See also:

23 Jan 01 | Northern Ireland
Dissidents behind bomb attack
30 Oct 00 | Northern Ireland
Mandelson meets Omagh bomb relatives
18 Aug 00 | Northern Ireland
Omagh relatives mount protest
25 Oct 00 | UK Politics
No public inquiry into Omagh
06 Sep 00 | Northern Ireland
Omagh inquest hears first evidence
03 Oct 00 | Northern Ireland
Real IRA 'fully to blame' for Omagh
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Northern Ireland stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Northern Ireland stories