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Father of Omagh bomb victim to give OTRs probe evidence

Michael Gallagher who lost his son Aidan, 21, during the 1998 Real IRA blast which devastated the Co Tyrone town of Omagh

Michael Gallagher who lost his son Aidan, 21, during the 1998 Real IRA blast which devastated the Co Tyrone town of Omagh

A victim of a bombing in Northern Ireland which killed 29 people is to give evidence to a parliamentary inquiry into the Government’s handling of fugitive republicans.

Michael Gallagher lost his son Aidan, 21, during the 1998 Real IRA blast which devastated the Co Tyrone town of Omagh.

The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee of MPs is investigating after the collapse of the case against a man accused of the 1982 Hyde Park bombing which killed four soldiers. A government administrative scheme wrongly assured him he was not wanted for one of the IRA’s most notorious atrocities.

The plan agreed between Sinn Fein and the last Labour government saw around 200 letters of assurance sent to on-the-runs if it was established the authorities were not seeking them.

The prosecution of John Downey, 62, from Co Donegal, for Hyde Park was halted in February this year after Mr Justice Sweeney found he had been wrongly sent a letter of assurance in 2007 informing him the authorities were not pursing him, when in fact the Metropolitan Police were looking for him.

The judge decided his arrest when he travelled through Gatwick airport last year and the subsequent prosecution had therefore represented an abuse of process.

Mr Downey denied involvement in the attack.

Also giving evidence to today’s Westminster hearing will be Julie Hambleton and Brian Hambleton, members of Justice4the21 which is campaigning on behalf of Birmingham pub bombing victims.

 

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