OMAGH WITNESS KEPT HIDDEN
An informer said to be wanted for questioning by the PSNI police
about the Omagh bombing is living in Britain under a government
witness-protection scheme and using a false name, it has been
The man known as "Paddy Dixon", who gave the 26-County Garda
police information about stolen cars used by the breakaway 'Real
IRA' in the months before the Omagh bombing, was arrested at an
airport in Wales. He had arrived from Dublin with relative and a
briefcase full of money, according to a Sunday Times report.
Dixon, who initially gave his cover name, later alerted the
authorities to his identity and said that the Gardai had given
him the money as part of their "witness protection program".
Detectives in the North have said they want to interview Dixon
about a claim that he gave information to the Gardai that was
not shared with them about a car used in the blast.
The actions of the police in connection with the 1998 Omagh
bombing, in which 31 people died, remains a source of
controversy. Allegations that the bombing was allowed to
proceed for strategic military purposes were not dispelled by a
report by the North's police ombudsman, Nuala O'Loan, who was
scathing of the handling of information which could have
prevented the atrocity and failures of the subsequent police
Michael Gallagher, a spokesman for the relatives of the Omagh
victims and families, has now demanded that Dixon be made
available to the PSNI.
Dixon was held for about three hours on July 21 but was released
without charge. Customs officials at Cardiff airport have
claimed that they neglected to check his record and were unaware
that he was wanted for questioning.
According to one of Dixon's former handlers, Detective Garda
John White, Dixon passed on information that a car was being
sought for a bombing in the North 24 hours before the Omagh bomb
killed 29 people. The information was never acted upon for
reasons still unknown.
An inquiry ordered by Michael McDowell, Dublin's justice
minister, last year rejected criticsm of the Gardai and held
that White's claims were without foundation, contradicting a
finding of the North's police ombudsman. The Dublin
investigation was held in private and was dismissed by some
commentators as a cover-up.
Dixon's real identity was revealed in High Court documents
prepared at garda headquarters. Dixon fled the country and
remains in hiding, from where he is seeking a reported one
million Euros from the 26-County state.