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UK Government publishes Terms of Reference for Omagh Bombing Inquiry

The UK Government has today (21 February) published the Terms of Reference for the Omagh Bombing Inquiry

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Chris Heaton-Harris MP, has today announced the Terms of Reference for the Omagh Bombing Inquiry, following agreement from the Chair of the Inquiry, Lord Turnbull.

Last year, the UK Government confirmed an independent statutory inquiry would be established into the preventability of the Omagh bombing in August 1998.

The atrocity, carried out by the Real IRA, killed 29 people and two unborn children, and injured 220 others.

The Terms of Reference are focused on the four grounds identified by the Northern Ireland High Court as giving rise to plausible arguments that the bombing could have been prevented.

The Inquiry will be established under the Inquiries Act 2005, with full powers, including the power to compel the production of documents and to summon witnesses to give evidence on oath.

Details of the Terms of Reference were outlined by the Secretary of State via a Written Ministerial Statement to Parliament today.

He said: “I want to first again express my deepest sympathy for all of those affected by the Omagh bombing in August 1998. It was a cruel atrocity carried out, not just on the people of Omagh, but on all those in Northern Ireland who supported the peace process.

“Following the announcement of the Inquiry in February 2023, and the appointment of Lord Turnbull as Chair in June 2023, I have now agreed with Lord Turnbull the Terms of Reference for the Inquiry. These are focused on the four grounds identified by the Northern Ireland High Court as giving rise to plausible arguments that the bombing could have been prevented.

“With the Terms of Reference now agreed, the Inquiry can press ahead with its work to comply with the judgement of the High Court, demonstrating the UK Government’s ongoing commitment to taking proper action on legacy related matters.

“The Inquiry Chair will now undertake a setting-up exercise to design the Inquiry as he sees fit, and he will announce further detail about the Inquiry in due course.”

Mr Heaton-Harris also called on the Irish Government to set out its own position with regard to the High Court ruling.

He said: “I urge the Irish Government to now explain what consideration it has given to the setting up of an investigation in Ireland to discharge its obligations under Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights, in line with the clear direction of the High Court.”

Note to Editors:

The Full Written Ministerial Statement regarding the Terms of Reference for the Omagh Bombing Inquiry can be found here.

More information regarding the Omagh Bombing Inquiry can be found here.

Channel website: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/northern-ireland-office

Original article link: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-government-publishes-terms-of-reference-for-omagh-bombing-inquiry

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