Omagh bombing: Independent inquiry announced by UK government

Real IRA bomb that exploded in the Co Tyrone town on August 15th, 1998, killed 29 people

Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris has said he intends to establish an independent statutory inquiry into the 1998 Omagh bombing.

The Real IRA bomb exploded in the Co Tyrone town on August 15th, 1998, killing 29 people, including a woman pregnant with twins. Hundreds more were injured.

Speaking on Thursday, Mr Heaton-Harris told MPs: “I have listened to the representations of these families and taken their varying perspectives into account. I have considered important factors such as the independence of any future investigation, the costs to the public purse and how best to allay wider public concern.

“I have weighed these up against the clear findings set out by the court, which we must meet for any investigation to be effective and compliant with our international obligations, and which are at the core of my decision.


“I intend to establish an independent statutory inquiry into the Omagh bombing.

“I have informed Mr (Michael) Gallagher and members of the Omagh Support and Self Help Group, as well as representatives of Families Moving On, of this decision.”

In 2021, a British High Court judge recommended that the British government should carry out a human rights-compliant investigation into alleged security failings in the lead-up to the attack.

Mr Justice Horner found it was potentially plausible the attack could have been prevented.

His ruling came after a legal challenge by a bereaved family member against the government’s refusal to hold a public inquiry.

The judge also recommended that the Government in the Republic establish its own investigation.

The following list details the 29 people who died in the Omagh bombing:

  • James Barker, 12 years old, Buncrana, Co Donegal. Originally from Surrey, England.
  • Fernando Blasco Baselga 12 years old, from Madrid, Spain.
  • Geraldine Breslin, 43 years old, Omagh.
  • Deborah-Ann Cartwright, 20 years old, Omagh.
  • Gareth Conway, 18 years old, Carrickmore, Co Tyrone.
  • Breda Devine, 20 months, Donemana, Co Tyrone.
  • Oran Doherty, eight years old, Buncrana, Co Donegal.
  • Aiden Gallagher, 21 years old, Omagh.
  • Esther Gibson, 36 years old, Beragh, Co Tyrone.
  • Mary Grimes, 65 years old, Beragh, Co Tyrone.
  • Olive Hawkes, 60 years old, Omagh.
  • Julia Hughes, 21 years old, Omagh.
  • Brenda Logue, 17 years old, Omagh.
  • Ann McCombe, 45 years old, Omagh.
  • Brian McCrory, 54 years old, Omagh.
  • Samantha McFarland, 17 years old, Omagh.
  • Sean McGrath, 61 years old, Omagh.
  • Sean McLoughlin, 12 years old, Buncrana, Co Donegal.
  • Jolene Marlow, 17 years old, Omagh.
  • Avril Monaghan, 30 years old, Augher, Co Tyrone (who was pregnant with twins).
  • Maura Monaghan, 18 months, Augher, Co Tyrone.
  • Alan Radford, 16 years old, Omagh, Co Tyrone.
  • Rocio Abad Ramos, 23 years old, Madrid, Spain.
  • Elizabeth Rush, 57 years old, Omagh.
  • Veda Short, 46 years old, Omagh.
  • Philomena Skelton, 39 years old, Drumquin, Co Tyrone.
  • Fred White, 60 years old, Omagh.
  • Bryan White, 27 years old, Omagh.
  • Lorraine Wilson, 15 years old, Omagh.