It was “regrettable” that former police ombudsman Nuala O’Loan chose the Omagh bomb anniversary to criticise police, Robin Swann has said.
The Ulster Unionist leader was commenting after Baroness O’Loan said she firmly believed the Real IRA atrocity could have been prevented.
After attending Wednesday’s memorial service in the Co Tyrone town, Mr Swann said: “Today the focus should be on remembering the 29 people and two unborn children who lost their lives in the Real IRA bomb attack in Omagh on August 15, 1998.
“It should be about giving support to their families and the hundreds injured in the horrific terrorist atrocity, and acknowledging the work of the emergency services and health professionals on the day of those terrible events and in the weeks after.”
Mr Swann said it was a “privilege” to be in Omagh for the service, and added: “It was a very moving and poignant experience and demonstrated that despite the passing years, the pain endures for the families and friends of those so cruelly murdered 20 years ago. The blame for this atrocity lies at the feet of those who planned, made and delivered the bomb to Omagh.
“It is regrettable that Nuala O’Loan has chosen today of all days to make her controversial comments when the focus should be solely on the families and not her.”