It's time to address the issues - Police Ombudsman

Published Date: 24.01.2002

THE Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland, Mrs Nuala O'Loan, has said it is now important that a way be found to resolve the issues surrounding the bombing of Omagh.

Mrs O'Loan said that there are clear differences between the content of her recent report and the information provided today by the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

"I have received the Chief Constable's Report at 3.20 pm yesterday and am still considering its content and substance. I can say at this stage, however, that there are clear disagreements on fundamental matters of fact between my findings and the information presented today by the Police Service. However there are also
many areas of agreement.

I stand very firmly behind the report from my Office.

I have listened carefully today to some of the victims and bereaved families and I can understand their difficulty.

I agree with them that it is the issues that are important and that further public disagreement between the Police Service and my Office should be avoided.

Let me make it very clear. I acknowledged in my report, and I do so again, that the bombing was a massive atrocity and the responsibility on the RUC/PSNI was awesome. In so many ways they deserve credit for much of what they have done.

It would not have been right of me to minimise, or be deflected from making criticism of the failures and deficiencies which we found over the past months, many of which were clearly identified by their own internal review.

I agree with the families that the Omagh Bombing must be thoroughly investigated and that rigorous investigative procedures and practices have to be in place for the future. These issues are at the heart of my recommendations.

"I would urge that the families and the Policing Board are given time to consider all the issues and that we find a way forward. It is important that past mistakes are not repeated and that everything possible is done to catch those behind this terrible atrocity."

To allow this to happen it is now my present intention to engage in no further public comment but I will answer any questions which the Policing Board may have.

These recommendations are about change: change now, for the future - in the belief that there will be the best possible policing service for the whole community.

Media Office, Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland
028 90 828604

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