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2006 News
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TWO CHARGES DROPPED BUT OMAGH BOMBING CHARGES STILL REMAIN
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Fri 22 December 2006
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On Tuesday 19th December two charges against the man accused of the Omagh bombing were effectively dropped after prosecution lawyers accepted there was no case to answer. Sean Hoey had been charged with causing an explosion in the middle of Banbridge on 1 August 1998.
The prosecution had been expected to present voice analysis evidence to try to link the south Armagh electrician to the Banbridge attack. But none has been introduced and Crown lawyers invited the court to find there was no case to answer as relates to that specific charge. They also accepted that there was no evidence to support a separate charge of conspiracy to murder. That was connected to an explosives find at Blackwatertown Road outside Armagh a month earlier. While officially these are decisions for Mr Justice Weir, it effectively means two charges have been withdrawn.
Although on Thursday 21st December Mr Justice Weir rejected a defence application calling for the Omagh bombing case to be thrown out. The judge said the test to decide if the trial should continue was whether the evidence was "so discredited or so intrinsically weak" that it could not support a conviction. He ruled that the case did not fail that test.
The prosecution accepted there was no case to answer in the two charges that were dropped. The remaining charges against Mr Hoey include 29 counts of murder as a result of the Omagh bombing, which happened in August 1998.
There have now been more than 50 days of evidence at the trial.
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RELEASE OF NALLY REPORT
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Wed 29 November 2006
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The families are deeply concerned by the timing of the censored report into Garda intelligence and John White's allegations, in the light of court proceedings involving John White.

We also note that the report did not interview Paddy Dixon, who was the key, or should have been the key witness at the inquiry, and the senior investigator into the Omagh Bombing inquiry. The Omagh families directly affected, were never given an opportunity to have an input into the inquiry.

We believe this report is of limited value and now call on the government to hold a Full Cross Border Public Inquiry into the full circumstances of the 1998 Omagh Bombing.

You can download a copy of Nally Report at www.justice.ie
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TERRY WAITE LAUNCHES OMAGH BOMB DIGITAL ARCHIVE
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Fri 17 November 2006
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The Omagh Bomb Digital Archive was unveiled by former Beirut hostage Terry Waite at Omagh library on Thursday 16th November.

The site is based on the archive collection housed in Omagh Library and includes media coverage, cards, books of condolence and other material relating to the events of 15 August, 1998.

Online visitors can access more than 10,500 newspaper articles, 15,000 emails, 818 books of condolence, 52 videos, nearly 3,000 floral tribute cards, 1,000 sympathy cards and look at the 20 patchwork quilts and cushions presented by the NI Patchwork Guild.

It has been developed by the Western Education and Library Board (WELB) Library Service in partnership with Omagh Support and Self Help Group (OSSHG) with funding from the Victims Strategy Implementation Fund.

The site is aimed at making information about the Omagh Bomb accessible to victims and families, researchers and academics, the local community and across the world.

The site can be accessed at www.omagharchive.co.uk
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MEMORIAL COMMITTEE
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Mon 13 November 2006
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The Victims Group are committed to achieve a Memorial Garden and marking of the street which will be a filling tribute to those who were affected by the 1998 Omagh Bombing.

It is a matter of serious regret that this ended up in a unnecessary Public Debate. We hope that common sense will prevail and thank all political parties for their support. We call for the street marker to be put in place as soon as possible.
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OSSHG MEET VICTIMS MINISTER
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Fri 10 November 2006
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Yesterday families of the Omagh bomb victims met with the Victims Minister David Hanson. The meeting was held to discuss the unnecessary delay in erecting a memorial to mark the bomb site. Mr Hanson was told of the victim's anger at being told a document of words they had submitted for the memorial chould go out to wider consultation.

The inscription proposed by the families was submitted earlier this year. It was to read: 'To honour and remember 31 people murdered and hundreds injured, from three nations, by a dissident republican terrorist car bomb'

After the meeting Michael Gallagher stated that 'We left the minister in no doubt about the depth of feeling at the failure to have the memorial erected.'

Mr Hanson expressed his regret that the row had flared. He stated that he hoped the Victims group and the Council could work together to put a memorial in place as soon as possible.
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OMAGH FAMILIES MEET WITH THE CHAIRMAN OF THE POLICING BOARD
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Tue 17 October 2006
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Today Tuesday 17th October 2006, the families of the Omagh bomb victims met with the Chairman of the Policing Board Sir Desmond Rea along with the Vice Chairman Barry Gilligan.

The meeting took place in the Omagh Support and Self Help Group Office and a range of issues were discussed. The Omagh families asked for a formal observer from the Policing Board to monitor the on going Hoey trial as the organisation admitted that they rely on media reports alone for updates.

The Omagh families also asked the Policing Board to help support a Public enquiry and also to facilitate a meeting with the security service MI5. The Chairman Sir Desmond Rea stated that he will consider all issues discussed within the meeting which lasted for an hour and a half.
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SEAN HOEY TRIAL RESUMES
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Mon 25 September 2006
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The case against Sean Gerard Hoey, 37, of Molly Road, Jonesborough, Armagh, will resume today Monday 25th September after being adjourned earlier this month. Relatives were disappointed when the trial was adjourned minutes after opening on 6 September 2006. The case was stopped as the defence lawyer was unwell.

A video link has been set up between Belfast Crown Court and Omagh College, at the request of Omagh Support and Self Help Group to enable the families of Omagh bomb victims to follow the trial. It will be available for the duration of the trial.

Sean Hoey denies involvement in the bombing in August 1998 in which 29 people died, including a woman pregnant with twins. Mr Hoey faces 58 charges including five other bombings, four bomb conspiracies, and six murder conspiracies. Hoey is only person to be charged with murder in connection with the bombing, the accused has been in custody for about three years.
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OMAGH FAMILIES TRAVEL TO THE TRIAL OF SEAN HOEY.
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Wed 06 September 2006
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Today Wednesday 6th September 2006 Omagh families travel to the High Court in Belfast to witness the first day of the trial of Sean Hoey.

Sean Gerard Hoey (36) an electrician from Jonesborough, Co Armagh is accused with 29 accounts of murder by the Omagh car bombing, among these a woman pregnant with twins. He faces 58 charges in total, including five other bombings, four bomb conspiracies, and six murder conspiracies.

The trial before Mr Justice Weir in Belfast is expected to be one of the last major non-jury trials in Northern Ireland and is expected to last for about 14 weeks.

Omagh families have requested a video link to be set up between the High Court in Belfast and Omagh to enable them to watch proceedings of the trial. This will be put in place after the first day of the trial.
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SUPPORT GROUP HOST ANNUAL SERVICE OF REMEMBRANCE
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Mon 31 July 2006
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The families of the Omagh Bomb Victims will host this year's annual service of remembrance in the Memorial Garden on Sunday the 13th August, at 3.00pm.
The eighth annual service organised by the Omagh Support and Self Help Group for the third year will be an inter-dominational service of music, verse and prayer.
Following the success of last year's personal service this year's is designed to provide comfort to the bereaved, injured and traumatized families while being uplifting in nature.
We are delighted to have representatives from both the British and Irish Governments attending the service. We will also be expressing our sympathies with the many victims of other recent terrorist atrocities throughout the world.
We invite and welcome everyone to come along and join us on the 13th August to remember and honour all those who died and those who are still suffering.
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HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL BENEFIT AND SCREENING
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Tue 30 May 2006
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The Omagh Film has been successfully chosen as the lead benefit film at the Second Annual Human Rights Watch International Film Festival. The benefit will be held on Thursday 1st June 2006 at the Museum of contemporary art, Chicago.

Attending as a special guest will be Mr Michael Gallagher, chairman of Omagh Victims Group whose personal story inspired the film. Speaking about the screening Mr Gallagher stated this is the third Human Rights Film Festival that Omagh has been chosen as the flagship film and it is a tremendous honour.
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OMAGH FAMILIES TO MEET U.S CONSULATE GENERAL
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Wed 10 May 2006
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Representatives from the Omagh Bomb Families (Omagh Support and Self Help Group) are meeting with U.S. Consulate General Howard Dean Pittman tomorrow (Thursday 11th May), at 11.00am, at the Consulate Office, Belfast.
The families will be requesting the Consulates assistance in their campaign to have the 32 County Sovereignty Movement website removed.
They also will be taking the opportunity to thank the Consulate for the U.S Governments support in relation to the Omagh Atrocity and to bring the Consulate up to date with the activities of the Support and Self Help Group.
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OMAGH REPRESENTATIVES MEET WITH IRISH HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION
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Wed 26 April 2006
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A delegation from Omagh Support and Self Help Group will meet with Irish Human Rights Chief Commissioner Mr Maurice Manning and his Commissioners on Thursday 27th April 2006, at 10.30am, at the Commissions Office, Jervis St, Dublin 1.
The families will be making a presentation to the Commissioners in order to gain their support in backing a full Cross Border Public Inquiry into the 15th August 1998 atrocity.
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OMAGH BOMB FAMILIES TO MEET CHIEF CONSTABLE
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Fri 31 March 2006
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The Omagh Bomb Victim Group is to meet with the Chief Constable Hugh Orde today Monday the 3rd April at 3.00p.m.at Police Headquarters Knock Rd, Belfast.
This is the first formal meeting the families have had with Hugh Orde.
The Chief Constable will be questioned about the recent report that M.I.5 was aware of an attempt to bomb Omagh four months before the devastating attack on the town in August 1998.
The families are calling for a full Cross Border Public Inquiry.
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BEREAVED FATHER BEGS CANADIAN FIRM TO BAN MURDERERS
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Fri 03 March 2006
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In August 1998, a bomb planted by the Real IRA devastated the country town of Omagh in Northern Ireland, killed 31 people (including unborn twins) and injured hundreds. The murderers have not yet been brought to justice and several of the families have been driven to take a civil case against some of the chief suspects.
This week, Michael Gallagher, Chairman of the Omagh Support and Self Help Group and father of murdered 21-year-old Aiden, will go to the office of webhosts Netfirms INC (5160 Yonge Street, Suite 1800, Toronto) on friday at 12.00 noon to beg the bosses to shut down a Real IRA hate-site.
He will be asking why Netfirms failed to reply to a letter sent on 29 November last year by Victor Barker, father of murdered 12-year-old James, begging them to act.
Among those to whom Omagh victims have appealed in their campaign to have this site axed have been the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, at a meeting in November and the Commissioner of London's Metropolitan Police, Sir Ian Blair. Although the site shows armed men training and encourages young people to espouse terrorist, no action has been taken.
In desperation, Michael Gallagher will be asking Netfirm bosses to show their opposition to terrorism and their solidarity with the bereaved by closing down this hate-site immediately.
"Our lives were ruined by these people, he said, but we work ceaselessly to prevent such tragedies happening to others. I hope we can rely on the decency for which Canadians are renowned".
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OMAGH FILM OPENS TORONTO HUMAN RIGHTS FILM FESTIVAL
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Thu 02 March 2006
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The Chairman of Omagh Support and Self Help Group, Mr Michael Gallagher is travelling to Toronto, Canada today (2nd March 2006) as a special guest at the Toronto Human Rights Film Festival.

The Omagh Film has been granted the prestigious accolade of opening the Film Festival, and Mr Gallagher will be interviewed by Eleanor Wachtel, the host of CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Commission) Radios the Arts Tonight programme.

The Omagh Film and the story of Omagh has generated a lot of media interest in Toronto, evidenced in its choice as the opening Film. In addition the astonishing revelations announced last week that MI5 had prior knowledge of an attack on Omagh has also heightened interest.

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OMAGH FAMILIES MEET WITH HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSIONER
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Mon 23 January 2006
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Omagh Families meet with Monica Mc Williams the Human Rights Commissioner. Representatives from Omagh families are to meet, today 20th January at 11.00am. The families will meet with the Human Rights Commissioner and other Commissioners at the HRC Headquarters Belfast.

Families will be asking the Commissioner to back their call for a full Cross Border Public Inquiry into the 1998 Omagh atrocity.
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UUP LEADER TO MEET WITH OMAGH BOMB FAMILIES
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Tue 17 January 2006
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The UUP Leader Sir Reg Empey is to meet with the Omagh Bomb Families Support Group on Tuesday 17th January, at 2.30pm, in the Group's Office.
The UUP has supported the families call for a full Cross Border Public Inquiry into the 1998 atrocity. Group Chairman Mr Michael Gallagher has said that he welcomes the visit stating "we are happy that Politicians are now listening and taking Victims issues more seriously. This can only be good for all Victims".
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Bridge Centre| 5A Holmview Avenue | Omagh | Co. Tyrone | BT79 0AQ
Tel: 028 8225 9877 | Fax: 028 8225 9877
Registered charity number:NI100554
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