Ashley Underwood QC appeared before the High Court in Belfast, as a Special Advocate in the case of Re Michael Gallagher (Omagh Bomb).

The 1998 Omagh bombing was the biggest loss of life in a single incident during the Troubles in Northern Ireland with 29 deaths and over 200 people injured during the explosion. No one was convicted for the attack. This case was brought by Michael Gallagher whose son was one of the victims.

In a short summary judgment, Mr Justice Horner, on 23 July 2021, concluded that there was a real prospect of preventing the Omagh bombing, and that the threshold under Article 2 ECHR to require an investigation into the allegations has been reached. This is an important finding on the basis that eight years ago the government rejected the need for a public inquiry into the bombing. Mr Justice Horner said that he was not going to order a public inquiry to look at the arguable grounds of preventability, but that there is a real advantage in an Article 2 compliant investigation proceeding in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland simultaneously.

Mr Justice Horner has prepared an open judgment and a closed judgment, both of which are currently subject to security checks. The Summary of Judgment can be found here.


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