144. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if she will meet with representatives from the Omagh bomb victim support group; the efforts she is making to fulfil commitments she made to address the concerns of the families for further investigations into the Omagh bomb atrocity; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [15233/15]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): The bombing at Omagh in August 1998 stands out in the minds of all right-thinking people as being among the worst atrocities ever committed on this island. The people who carried it out displayed nothing but contempt for life itself and inflicted unutterable grief on those whose lives were shattered by the bomb.
While considerable efforts were made, North and South, to bring those responsible to justice, it is a matter of great regret that the perpetrators of the bombing have not been brought to justice in relation to it. However, I would say that the Garda investigations remain open and the Gardaí stand ready to pursue fully any new or additional evidence that might come to light.
My predecessor met with members of the Omagh Support and Self-Help Group in July 2012, where they raised issues of concern with regard to events surrounding the bombing and presented a copy of a document setting out these concerns in support of its call for a public inquiry. A detailed consideration of the matters raised, insofar as they relate to this State and the Garda Síochána, had been carried out and was being finalised. Given the detailed and sensitive nature of the material in the document it required some time for those matters to be given proper consideration.
However, in April 2014 a man was arrested in Northern Ireland and has been charged with the 29 murders caused by the bomb at Omagh. In these circumstances, it was considered appropriate and the safest course of action to postpone finalising consideration of the matters raised by the Omagh Group until the completion of the prosecution process in Northern Ireland. This position has been communicated directly to the Omagh Group.
In our shared desire for those who carried out the atrocity at Omagh to face justice I believe we must all seek to ensure we do not do or say anything that could in any way be interpreted to interfere with that process. I fully understand that the Group wishes to receive a response to its concerns and I am anxious to ensure that will take place as soon as is prudent.