OMAGH REPORT SUPPRESSED
* British refusing to publish Cory report
The Minister for Justice in the 26 Counties, Michael McDowell,
has controversially refused to publish a report on allegations
that the Garda police failed to act on a tip-off which could
have prevented the 1998 Omagh bombing.
Allegations of Garda inaction in the Omagh bombing,
ministerial interference in the judicial process, and unlawful
conduct by senior Garda officers were all without foundation,
The Minister said the Nally report "is a particularly lucid
and compelling document, and I believe that if people had
access to it, few, if any, would dispute its conclusions".
But he said that, in order to safeguard the security of the
State and protect future police operations, he could not
publish the report.
Ruling out a public inquiry, the Minister said: "There are no
grounds for such an inquiry, and any repetition of unfounded
allegations will not change that situation".
The Gardai had been accused of failing to act on information
on the car-bomb -- which was asssembled in the South and
driven over the border -- in order to protect an informer in
the dissident 'Real IRA'.
The Minister did not say whether this was because the Gardai
had successfully passed on the relevant information to the RUC
police, or that the Gardai did not have information which
could have prevented the bomb.
The 'Real IRA' was behind the attack on the County Tyrone
town, which claimed 31 lives after their warnings proved
It has emerged that there is a sharp contradiction between the
information supplied to the investigation team by the police
on both sides of the border. In addition, the failure of the
investigators to interview a man described as a key witness in
the affair has baffled observers.
But the total ban on the publication of the report has
distressed relatives of the victims, who have endured five
years of sharply conflicting accounts of the attack. it has
been suggested that elements of the security forces played a
key role in the attack which has been likened by some to the
bombings of Dublin and Monaghan in 1974.
Stanley McCombe, spokesman for the Omagh relatives, rejected
the report findings and said families would only be satisfied
when an inquiry, independent of the state, was carried out.
The Fine Gael leader, Enda Kenny, said he was not happy with
the report because of the failure to interview the unnamed
"key participant", understood to be an informer known as Pat
Dixon's handler, Det Sgt John White's, has alleged that the
bombing could have been prevented by the Gardai.
Det White had alleged that the Garda could have prevented the
bombing if it had passed on information to the RUC about
stolen cars used in the August 1998 attack.
This mirrored allegations in the North that the RUC Special
Branch allowed the bombing to proceed for its own military or
The Sinn Fein TD for Cavan/Monaghan, Caoimhghin O Caolain,
said he was unhappy that his party had not received a copy of
the report when other Opposition parties had.
BRITISH STILL REFUSING TO PUBLISH CORY REPORT
The Irish Prime Minister, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, has said the
British would not yet be publishing the sections of the Cory
Report presented to them which deal with four examples of
collusion in murder.
Ahern confirmed the Irish Government will publish the parts of
the report presented to it, most likely this week, possibly
Judge Cory is reportedly unhappy with the continuing failure
of the British government to publish his findings into the
murders of lawyers Pat Finucane and Rosemary, the loyalist
paramilitary Billy Wright, and Portadown man Robert Hamill.
It was further reported that he may write to the families of
those murdered outlining his findings and recommendations if
the British government does not.
The British governments has defended the delay by claiming the
report has security and legal implications. But it is
understood that the judge, well aware of these issues, phrased
his report so as not to compromise the judicial process or
national security in either Britain or Ireland.
Sinn Fein Dail leader Caoimhghin O Caolain has described as
"totally unacceptable" the continued refusal of the British
Government to publish the Report.
"Confirmation that the British government is delaying the
publication of the Cory Report comes less than a week after
Judge Barron exposed that government's lack of co-operation
with his inquiry," he said.
"Now we see the British dragging their heels on the
publication of another report highlighting collusion.
"It is widely accepted nationally and internationally that Pat
Finucane was murdered as a direct result of collusion between
British intelligence and loyalist paramilitaries, including
the notorious agent Brian Nelson.
"The Irish government should set its face against any
publication of a partial or censored version of the Cory
Report by the British and should demand its immediate
publication in full."
Sinn Fein colleague Gerry Kelly described the delay as "yet
another stalling tactic by the British to try and keep the lid
on the collusion scandal".