Omagh bombing Justice The Omagh bomb was the most terrible single event of the Troubles. The Real IRA attack in August 1998 killed 29 people and wounded hundreds more...Yesterday in Belfast the case against Sean Hoey, the only person ever charged with murder over the attack, was thrown out after the judge ruled that the police case rested on flawed evidence, the result of an incompetent and deceitful travesty of an investigation...Well, what are you waiting for? You should know the drill. A walk in the country, a tree, a bottle of pills and that knife you've had since you were a boy scout...
This would have been bad enough had failings not been reported before. It is worse that the police seem to have made little effort to correct errors exposed by the investigation of the ombudsman, Nuala O'Loan. She found that a failure of leadership ran through the police's handling of the atrocity.
Instead of accepting this, the then head of policing in Northern Ireland, Sir Ronnie Flanagan, dismissed her report. "If these [findings] were true ... I would not only resign, I would go out and commit suicide," he declared. The Police Association for Northern Ireland attempted to block the report in court. Yesterday's miserable outcome shows that Ms O'Loan was right and Sir Ronnie was wrong.