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Thursday, 6 December, 2001, 19:52 GMT
Omagh families' shock at revelations
Campaign for justice: Michael Gallagher delivered a letter to Irish embassy last week
Relatives have maintained campaign for justice
The relatives of some of those killed in the Omagh bomb have expressed shock and anger at the revelations about prior warning of a possible attack.

They are to be presented with a full copy of the Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman's draft report next Wednesday.

However, following Thursday's revelations, some of those bereaved said they felt better use should have been made of the information allegedly supplied to RUC Special Branch by informants.

The ombudsman's draft report says that the RUC had information about a planned attack in Omagh 11 days before the 1998 bombing which left 29 dead, but this was not passed to police officers on the ground.

Stanley McCombe:
Stanley McCombe: "Something should have been done with this information"

The damaging report says that had the information been passed on and security checkpoints been put in place, the bombers may have been deterred.

Stanley McCombe, whose wife Anne died in the bombing, said: "I feel very angry about this.

"I want to see a proper investigation into everything that happened. It seems so lackadaisical.

"When we receive a copy of the report we can read more into it, but I have no doubt it could have been prevented if this information had been acted on."

Kevin Skelton: Angry at revelations
Kevin Skelton: Angry at revelations
He added: "There were very few police in Omagh at the time, and if this information was at hand and it said this is the real thing, and if they knew there was a bomb of that enormity in Northern Ireland, why did they not have security in all major towns and villages?

"There was a bomb attack in Banbridge a fortnight before Omagh and before that there was a bomb found on the Armagh border. The security chiefs should have known."

Kevin Skelton's wife Philomena was killed in the blast and his daughter Shona was badly injured.

He said: "The police did their best to clear the town, but it is obvious that their handlers further up the line did not do their jobs."

He added: "This is just another part of British justice. I see it as a cover-up.

I don't blame the security forces for my son's murder, but I'm disgusted that they didn't act

Victor Barker

"This would not happen in England. I feel it is just being brushed under the carpet."

However, Victor Barker, whose 12-year-old son James also died, warned that the bombers would now try to claim police were to blame for the loss of life.

"I don't blame the security forces for my son's murder, but I'm disgusted that they didn't act," he said.

"They didn't plant the bomb, but this is going to get used by the Real IRA to claim police knew about it and were therefore responsible.

"That's not what any right thinking human being can accept."

Michael Gallagher, whose son Aidan, 21, was killed said: "We thought things would get better, but as time has gone on we have seen things getting worse. We thought something would happen here, and it hasn't happened.

"When we meet next week and hear the ombudsman's full report, we will then come together and discuss how we move things forward. I just hope at the end of this process, the Omagh victims and their families will get justice."

Bereaved relatives Sidney McCombe and Kevin Skelton
tell of their shock and anger at hearing revelations from the draft report
See also:

06 Dec 01 | Northern Ireland
RUC 'knew about' Omagh attack plan
01 Dec 01 | Northern Ireland
Omagh relatives confront protesters
11 Oct 01 | Northern Ireland
Omagh centre to help terror victims
17 Apr 00 | Northern Ireland
Omagh families seek online justice
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