Unionists turned the spotlight on republicans and Sinn Fein’s knowledge of the Omagh bomb yesterday after Secretary of State Theresa Villiers ruled out a public inquiry into the 1998 attack which claimed 29 lives.
West Tyrone DUP MLA Tom Buchanan said that with no public inquiry to take place “it is absolutely vital that proper resources and efforts are placed into bringing all those responsible for the bombing to justice for their crimes”.
He added: “Success in this area would also be boosted by information forthcoming, particularly from republicans, about those who committed this atrocity.”
West Tyrone UUP MLA Ross Hussey called on Sinn Fein to provide any information it may have regarding the republicans responsible.
He claimed that within the ranks of Sinn Fein there is knowledge as to who exactly was responsible for the Omagh bombing.
That party had not commented at the time of going to press.
TUV leader Jim Allister said he was “dismayed” by the decision, adding: “Once again it seems that there is one rule for those cases championed by republicans and another for the countless victims of republican terrorism.”
And Kenny Donaldson of Innocent Victims United said it must be noted that the RIRA – not state forces – bombed Omagh. “It is not justice to offer up scapegoats for the premeditated and callous activities of terrorists,” he said.
But SDLP leader Alasdair McDonnell said that “vested interests of state organisations and terror groups must not be protected at the expense of the Omagh families”, while Vernon Coaker MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, said that he was awaiting the outcome of the police ombudsman’s inquiry on the matter.
Alliance justice spokesman Stewart Dickson MLA said that the families deserve the truth. “There are still many unanswered questions surrounding the events that led up to that day,” he added.
Victims’ campaigner Willie Frazer too said the decision was “completely wrong”. He added: “Some of the people responsible for Omagh were also involved in the Kingsmills massacre. An independent international panel could do an inquiry at very low cost.”
Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny said he was still examining the families’ report. He added: “I hope to have the opportunity to meet with the members of some of the families (of Omagh) in due course.”