Widower of Omagh victim sues police

The widower of an Omagh bomb victim has served a writ on the North's Police Service and Secretary of State, alleging their negligence allowed the bombing to take place.

The government and the PSNI have now issued a summons which seeks to prevent him proceeding with the case.

Laurence Rush's wife, Libby Rush, was killed instantly by the Real IRA bomb of 15 August 1998.

Solicitor Des Doherty represents Rush.

"Unless in years to come there is going to be some sort of independent public inquiry into what really happened at Omagh my client's case is the only chance of getting to the truth in a public forum," said Doherty

"Depressing as it is, I therefore expect the powers of the PSNI and the British government to do everything they can to stop Laurence proceeding."

Rush's writ alleges the authorities failed to act on intelligence that there was to be an attack in Omagh; failed to have sufficient police and security personnel on duty in the town on the day to ensure civilians could be evacuated and failed to fully and thoroughly investigate the crime.

The writ states the security forces had good intelligence on the Real IRA at the time of the bombing.

"That proscribed organisation had been infiltrated by an informer, one Kevin Fulton, who fed to the security forces information about the Real IRA in general and the threat of a bomb attack on a town in Northern Ireland and Omagh in particular," it says.

"Furthermore, the defendants or their agents or servants had other information of very good quality which would have indicated to them where and when a bomb was intended, sufficient to have prevented the bomb being planted and detonated in Omagh on the afternoon of 15th August 1998.

The defendants or one of them had a sufficient quality of information to apprehend the perpetrators or prevent the planning of the bomb at Omagh on 15 August 1998 which directly caused the death of Libby Rush."

Doherty said the Omagh case had strong similarities to the Dublin-Monaghan bombings. "There has been a cover-up by polticians, British and Irish, in relation to Dublin-Monaghan," Doherty said.

"The very same has happened in relation to Omagh. In Omagh you had a police investigation which was obviously deeply flawed, which was the same as Dublin-Monaghan."

Rush said he wanted the truth to be known.

"This is me against the government and the security establishment," he said.

"I bring to book the British government, the Secretary of State, and all those responsible."

Doherty said he hoped to have a first preliminary hearing in the case before the end of this year.

Rush's action is separate from that being taken by a number of Omagh victim families against five suspected Real IRA figures.

Michael Gallagher acts as spokesperson for those families.

Three years ago, Rush withdrew from that action. A few months later, Rush was also expelled from the Omagh Support and Self-Help Group, which largely comprises those taking the civil action against the Real IRA. That civil action has since faced allegations of over-charging by its legal team, and has received funding from the British government.

anton McCabe