Page last updated at 05:50 GMT, Monday, 20 October 2008 06:50 UK

Parliamentarians in Omagh appeal

Omagh bombing scene
Twenty-nine people were murdered in the Real IRA atrocity

British MPs and Irish TDs have called on the UK Government to hand over sensitive files gathered about the Omagh bomb.

The British-Irish Inter-Parliamentary Body debated a motion calling for the release of transcripts of phone calls that may involve suspects.

The body met in Newcastle-upon-Tyne on Monday.

The 1998 Real IRA bombing killed 29 people in the County Tyrone town, including a woman pregnant with twins.

Irish Fine Gael TD Brian Hayes and British Labour Party MP Andrew McKinley want "surveillance of those subsequently suspected of preparing and carrying out the atrocity" released to lawyers working for the Omagh families, currently engaged in a civil case against those they believe were behind the attack.

The pair believe the motion, in the name of 15 cross-party members of the body, will put pressure on the government to disclose the contents of surveillance gathered more than 10 years ago.

Mr Hayes, who represents Dublin South West, said the Omagh victims had waited too long for justice.

"The current civil action provides an opportunity for intercept material to be made known to the court so that a verdict can be made based on all evidence in this case," said Mr Hayes.

"While the UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown has established a review under Sir Peter Gibson on the performance of the intelligence community at the time of the RUC investigation, the immediate issue that requires political and legal accountability is the civil action before the courts.

"Not enough has been done to help the families of Omagh over these last 10 years."


Ulster Unionist Lord Maginnis said in the ongoing war against international terrorism, releasing such files would set a precedent that undermined national security.

However, he and former NI security minister Michael Mates were minority voices opposing the motion.

Set up after the Good Friday Agreement in 1990, the British-Irish Inter-Parliamentary body is made up of politicians from Westminster, the Dail and Seanad, Northern Ireland Assembly, Welsh Assembly, Scottish Parliament, Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man.

The Ulster Unionist delegation of Lord Maginnis and Stormont MLA David McClarty were attending for the first time.

It follows almost two decades of a unionist boycott of the body, which is to change its name to the British-Irish Assembly "to accommodate Unionist concerns".

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific