PSNI chief promises to keep hunting for the killers
NORTHERN Ireland’s top police officer has vowed to do all he can to bring those responsible for the Omagh bombing to justice.
Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, George Hamilton, warned that as time goes by the chances of securing a criminal justice outcome “reduces”.
He was speaking as relatives of those killed in the Real IRA bomb gathered to remember their loved ones 20 years on.
An inter-denominational service took place at the Memorial Garden in the Co Tyrone town ahead of the 20th anniversary of the single worst atrocity of the Troubles, when 29 people, including a woman pregnant with twins, were killed by a huge Real IRA car bomb which
had been parked on a busy street.
“It is a great regret to many of us that no-one has been successfully prosecuted in relation to the Omagh bombing,” said the Chief Constable, who is currently being sued by relatives of those who died for failings within the force which they believe allowed the perpetrators to escape justice.
He added: “In many respects that hasn’t been for a lack of trying. The investigation has been active over many years and, of course, five people have been found liable through the civil court but to get to the threshold for a criminal prosecution we haven’t had that success yet and that is a cause of deep regret to me.”
He said that the police will continue to do all “we can within the law to gather evidence that brings those responsible for this horrible atrocity to justice. If there are evidential opportunities, we will grasp them with both hands.
“If there’s new science or technology that allow us to exploit and harvest more evidence from the exhibits that we already collected, of course we will do all of that. We will not be found wanting.
“It is also fair to say that as time goes by, the chances of a criminal justice outcome reduce. It’s important to come and stand with this community, given the grief and trauma they have suffered over the past 20 years.
“There have been many dark days for them, there has been much frustration around the lack of criminal justice outcomes, I understand that.
“If we have opportunities, we will take them.”
Donna Marie McGillion (42), from Omagh, who was left seriously injured in the attack, described the memorial as an “emotional day”.
Mrs McGillion suffered 65pc third degree burns and was left in a coma for almost seven weeks after the blast.
She was due to marry her husband Garry a week after the bomb, however, the pair married some six months later.
The mother of two, whose daughter Cara (16) sang in the choir at the event, said: “It’s an emotional day and first and foremost my thoughts are with the families of the 31 as they will be finding it extremely difficult 20 years on.
“It’s a special day and a way to help us move forward but ultimately this is about the 31 who walked with us in the town that day and aren’t with us today.
“Remembering this day is a personal thing and people do whatever it is they need to do. For me, I always did my own thing. I did attend the anniversary events for the first five years but it was very hard.
“So we’ve been doing our thing. There is never, ever a day where I don’t think about the 31 who aren’t here.
“I have two children who weren’t born when it happened, but they certainly live with it.
“I’m still going for surgery and after the bomb I had to wear a plastic mask over my face for four years,” he added.
‘I have two children who weren’t born when it happened, but they live with it’