It had been funding a bid for a judicial review of the report, claiming the report was grossly unfair, inaccurate and had failed to give officers sufficient time to respond.
Nuala O’Loan’s scathing findings on how police handled the investigation into the huge car bomb attack in August 1998, Northern Ireland’s worst ever outrage, left senior officers shocked and furious.
She criticized the way intelligence information tending to the conclusion that the Real IRA might have been planning a huge car bomb was not passed by Special Branch onto regional police stations.
The ombudsman also concluded the inquiry had been hampered by “defective leadership, poor judgment and a lack of urgency.” The then chief constable, Ronnie Flanagan, had been singled out for criticism, with the Ombudsman accusing him of “seriously flawed judgment.”
O’Loan’s comments prompted him to a public outburst at a press conference. Flanagan was one of the applicants seeking a judicial review but, after both sides’ legal teams spent hours wrangling, a compromise was reached.
The ombudsman accepted, with hindsight, that some senior officers should have been given more than two weeks’ notice of the allegations against them. Her main findings, however, remained uncontested.
Outside the court, O’Loan said she was satisfied that the findings of her report now stood and the Omagh families could take heart from that.
The assistant chief constable, Stephen White, said it is time to put an end to the dispute. “As a senior member of the PSNI leadership, I look forward to a healthy and improved working relationship with the ombudsman, he said.
Meanwhile, the families of the Omagh bomb victims have lodged a