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Monday, 8 April, 2002, 10:29 GMT 11:29 UK
Omagh relatives' compensation call
The scene of the Omagh bomb
The Omagh bomb left 29 people dead
Some families of those who lost relatives in the Omagh bombing are angry that they still have not received compensation.

They say despite promises by UK Prime Minister Tony Blair that there would be no unnecessary red tape, the Compensation Agency was delaying settlements.

Twenty-nine people, including children and a pregnant woman, died and more than 200 people were injured in the dissident republican bombing.

Almost four years on we still have a substantial number of the families who still have'nt received compensation

Michael Gallagher
Victim's father

It was the biggest single loss of life in 30 years of the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

About 9m has already been paid out in claims from Omagh.

The Northern Ireland Office has blamed solicitors acting for the families for the hold-up.

'Fast-track system'

The Omagh Victims' Group said the Government had promised to make payments quickly.

Chairman Michael Gallagher, who lost his son Aidan in the bombing, said: "Almost four years on we still have a substantial number of the families who still haven't received compensation.

"We feel this is really unbelievable given the fact that the government said at the time that there would be a fast-track system put in place."

Anyone who was on the street on 15 August has gone through enough mental torture without this

Kevin Skelton
Omagh Victims' Group

He said some cases had been settled, but he could not understand why some other bereaved families were still waiting.

"I believe the delay is unnecessary and I believe that the blame for that delay should not rest back with the victims' families.

"If there is a problem there - whether it be with the solicitors or the Compensation Agency - it should be resolved quickly."

Kevin Skelton, whose wife Philomena was killed in the explosion, said he was very upset by the compensation delay.

"All the information has been provided. My solicitor has been looking for a consultation since September last year," he said.

"Anyone who was on the street on 15 August has gone through enough mental torture without this."

Professional representatives

The Northern Ireland Office said it had made every effort to settle claims.

It said claims by families of the bereaved had been reviewed at ministerial level.

A spokesman said the Compensation Agency needed full information regarding loss of dependency and financial loss before compensation could be given.

"We have been pressing applicants' solicitors to provide this information and in all cases that are outstanding we are waiting on such information from applicants' professional representatives," he said.

Only one person in the Republic of Ireland - Colm Murphy - has been convicted in connection with the bombing.

BBC NI's Paddy O'Flaherty:
"The NIO has blamed solicitors acting for the families for the hold-up"
See also:

14 Feb 02 | Northern Ireland
Omagh families welcome 'new start'
07 Feb 02 | Northern Ireland
Board 'close to' Omagh agreement'
06 Feb 02 | Northern Ireland
Resolution of Omagh row 'agreed'
05 Feb 02 | Northern Ireland
Marathon talks on Omagh investigation
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