Maddie hunt resources show NI massacre victims are ‘second class’

Michael Gallagher said the investigation into the Omagh bomb should have been resourced the same as the hunt for missing Madeleine McCann
Michael Gallagher said the investigation into the Omagh bomb should have been resourced the same as the hunt for missing Madeleine McCann
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The father of an Omagh bomb victim says the sheer scale of the police resources devoted to the Madeleine McCann case “galls me”, when compared to unsolved mass murder in Northern Ireland.

Michael Gallagher, whose son Aiden died in the 1998 bomb attack, was speaking out after news emerged this week that there were still 29 officers from the Metropolitan Police working on the suspected abduction of the girl, who vanished eight years ago on holiday in Portugal.

Meanwhile, the brother of a man killed in a sectarian gun massacre victim said he feels it highlights how Northern Irish victims appear to be “second class” in the UK.

The Met said during the week that it is cutting the number of detectives on the McCann case down to four.

Mr Gallagher said: “When I saw the assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police (Mark Rowley) assuring the public the investigation will go on and they are still applying resources, there is a galling gap between what we have seen in policing here and policing in the UK.

“I am very happy they have not given up – it (the abduction of Madeleine McCann) was a horrendous crime – but I feel some of the horrendous crimes we have seen here, the authorities seem to have given up on them.”

Madeleine, from Rothley in Leicestershire, was three years old when she went missing from her family’s holiday apartment at the Ocean Club in Praia da Luz on May 3 2007.

Madeleine’s parents said they “fully understand” the decision.

Mr Gallagher told the News Letter he believed “the Met are doing the right things for Madeleine McCann’s family. But they are obviously not doing the right thing for all the horrendous crime that we have seen in this country over the last 40 years...

“If you have a crime as serious as Omagh, the worst single crime in the history of the Troubles, surely it should be met with equal resources.

“At the time the incident happened the chief constable said there were 16 to 18 people involved in the Omagh bomb.

“It is shocking how the resources on the Omagh case were depleted to a point where there were no officers on the Omagh case.

“It is galling to see how badly the victims have been treated and to see the way the police forces in other parts of the UK carry out investigations. You could not get a more high-profile crime than Omagh, yet not one person is serving a sentence for murder at Omagh.”

Meanwhile, Colin Worton, whose brother Kenneth was one of 10 men murdered in the Kingsmills massacre in January 1975, said: “I don’t want to take it away from Madeleine McCann’s disappearance, but that was a lot of manpower for one person. But we are living in a different part of the UK.”

Mr Worton said “they had 10 or 14 officers on the Kingsmills investigation and they had that for a year, if even. After that the manpower went into something else.

“I also think over here we are second class.”

He added that the investigation into Madeleine McCann “was high profile because she was a wee child, and it got a lot of media attention”.

“But it seems very insensitive how they can justify one and not the other.

“A death is a death no matter how it comes about, they all should be treated the same. There should be no hierarchy of victims.”

Morning View: Madeleine McCann case was tragic but investigation needs proportion