What Did MI5 Know About Omagh?

In the latest twist involving the world of intelligence agencies, RTE (amidst other agencies) are leading with a story that MI5 withheld vital information about a bomb plot from the Special Branch in the period leading up to the Omagh bomb. Cue the latest bout of Durkan-speak (No. 134): ‘Allowing MI5 to have a lead role in intelligence in Northern Ireland would be like appointing Herod as children’s commissioner.’

  • Shore Road Resident

    Yes Chris, the important thing here is to have a go at the SDLP.

  • Chris Donnelly

    On the contrary, SRR. I actually think the party would welcome the fact I carried the leader’s response.

  • Pete Baker

    Important point to note Chris, is that these are claims from anonymous sources.. as, despite the lead paragraph, even RTÉ acknowledge –

    According to security sources in Northern Ireland, MI5 failed to inform Special Branch of the threat about the bomb plot.

    Interestingly, with a much shorter report, UTV gets closer to the story as it stands.

    It has been claimed that MI5 withheld vital anti-terrorism intelligence,just months before the Omagh bomb.

    And those details, or as much as seems to be available, are in the IOL News report

    It followed an MI5 tip-off involving American FBI agent David Rupert, who was working undercover in the ranks of the Real IRA, warning that Omagh or Derry – but most likely Omagh – was to be hit by a dissident republican unit based in Fermanagh and the Letterkenny area of neighbouring Co Donegal.

    The car containing a mortar bomb was never found, although it is believed the device may have been the same as one used in an attack on security forces in the border town of Belleek, Co Fermanagh, three weeks later.

    At the time, the Royal Ulster Constabulary was aware that a planned terrorist operation had been disrupted, but according to authoritative security sources today, police found no trace on their records of any MI5 intelligence that Omagh, or Derry, was going to be a target.

  • Chris Donnelly

    Spot on, Pete.

  • cynic

    So the tussle over Special Branch vs. Mi5 begins, too bad this is the only way the public will ever find out anything about what has gone on – some Truth and Reconciliation eh roll on more security sources do tell

  • Pete Baker

    Indeed, what the claim, in fact, appears to be, is that police records from the time do not confirm whether MI5 passed on that information.. that’s potential some distance from the story as presented.

  • bewareofspin


    The claim is not about possible poor record keeping as your contribution infers.

    The claim is the RUC have no record of being informed of an imminent attack which investigation has shown MI5 were aware of.

    Your version makes it seem like a warning could have been received but the paperwork is missing. That is nowhere near the truth of the allegation as it stands, it almost seems deliberately dishonest.

  • carlos blancos

    Yeah Chris, I’m sure the SDLP are gald you’ve quoted Durkan. But is it my imagination or does the term ‘Durkan-speak’ imply a certain level of windbagness?

  • Michael Shilliday

    Maybe some day we’ll find out what the provo’s knew about Omagh. One can only hope

  • aquifer

    We know who bombed Omagh

  • ingram

    “We know who bombed Omagh”

    Ok,we know what grouping admitted the job but do we know who really was behind the job! Man A & B in the ombudsmans report are both Agents for “A STATE”

    What we do know is the former Chief Constable lied and was chastised by the ombudsman for those lies.

    In any fall out between box and the peelers there is only ever going to be one winner.