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Wednesday, 12 December, 2001, 10:00 GMT
Omagh bomb report to be released
Omagh bombing
Omagh devastation followed misleading warnings of an attack
A controversial report into the Omagh bombing which killed 29 people is due to be released by Northern Ireland's Police Ombudsman.

Wednesday's publication will follow last week's claims that the police failed to act on a warning about an attack on the County Tyrone town, 11 days before the Real IRA bomb in 1998.

The claims were rejected by Chief Constable Sir Ronnie Flanagan, who said he was considering calling in an outside team to carry out a police investigation.

The police had appealed for more time to consider the draft report before it was released.

Mrs O'Loan travelled to Omagh on Wednesday morning to speak to the families of those who died in the bombing, prior to the publication of her report.

Nuala O'Loan: Police Ombudsman
Nuala O'Loan: Police Ombudsman

Northern Ireland Secretary of State John Reid said on Tuesday that he would wait and read the report's conclusions about the police handling of the information received before deciding what action to take.

Dr Reid condemned the leaking of details of the draft report and said it was "grossly unfair" to the victims' families.

The nationalist SDLP warned that the next move was up to the Policing Board, not the chief constable.

The Ombudsman's draft report report found the RUC's Special Branch was warned about an attack planned for 15 August 1998 - but the information was not passed to police officers on the ground.

Leaked details of the draft report suggested the Omagh bombers might have been deterred if the information had been passed on and security checkpoints set up.

Sir Ronnie said he would bring an outside team in if that was what it took "to reassure victims that no stone will be left unturned in this investigation".

Sir Ronnie Flanagan
Sir Ronnie Flanagan: Denied warnings had told of an attack on Omagh

He said the inquiry remained "current and live".

A call received by police 11 days before the Omagh bombing gave no indication of the forthcoming attack, according to Sir Ronnie.

He said no officer within Special Branch was being protected by the decision not to inform local officers in Omagh of the information.

Sir Ronnie gave details of a telephone call taken on 4 August which named individuals who, it was claimed, would be moving weapons close to Omagh, to use in an attack on police on 15 August.

He said the information from an agent and from an anonymous caller on 4 August was such that he had "no doubt they did not present an opportunity to prevent the dreadful atrocity that took place in Omagh".

The BBC's Denis Murray
"The Omagh bombing was the worst single atrocity in the 30 year history of the troubles"
Lord Maginnis of Drumglass
"I do not believe a mistake has been made"

The Troubles
Understanding Northern Ireland
See also:

07 Dec 01 | Northern Ireland
Chief constable rejects Omagh claims
06 Dec 01 | Northern Ireland
RUC 'knew about' Omagh attack plan
06 Dec 01 | Northern Ireland
Political fallout after Omagh revelations
07 Dec 01 | Northern Ireland
NI police ombudsman's role
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