Richard Wheeler, Martina Bet and David Young, PA
The British government has ordered an independent inquiry into the 1998 Omagh bombing.
Britain's Northern Ireland secretary Chris Heaton-Harris made a statement in the UK's House of Commons on Thursday confirming he intends to establish the inquiry in response to a court judgement which directed the British government to establish some form of investigation.
Michael Gallagher, whose son Aiden died in the Real IRA bombing, took the legal challenge that resulted in the judge directing the state to act.
The dissident republican bomb exploded in the Co Tyrone town on August 15th, 1998, killing 29 people, including a woman pregnant with twins. Hundreds more were injured.
Mr Heaton-Harris explained that he had listened to representations of those families affected by the atrocity alongside other factors, including its independence, cost to public purse and how best to “allay wider public concern”.
Speaking in the Commons, Mr Heaton-Harris said: “I intend to establish an independent statutory inquiry into the Omagh bombing.
“I have informed Mr Gallagher and members of the Omagh Support and Self Help Group, as well as representatives of Families Moving On of this decision.
“The inquiry will focus specifically on the four grounds which the court held as giving rise to plausible arguments that the bombing could have been prevented.
“The inquiry will also need to take account of the findings of previous investigations to avoid duplication.”
Mr Heaton-Harris said he accepted this is a “significant” decision.