A remarkable and inspiring human story: an insider's account of the groundbreaking and successful campaign to bring the Omagh bombers to justice.
The Omagh bomb was the worst massacre in Northern Ireland’s modern history yet from it came a most extraordinary tale of human resilience, as families of murdered people channelled their grief into action. As the bombers congratulated themselves on escaping justice, the families determined on a civil case against them and their organisation. No one had ever done this before.
It was a very domestic atrocity. In Omagh, on Saturday, 15 August 1998, a massive bomb placed by the so-called Real IRA murdered unborn twins, six men, twelve women and eleven children, of whom two were Spanish and one English: the dead included Protestants, Catholics and a Mormon.
Although the police believed they knew the identities of the killers, there was insufficient evidence to bring charges. Taking as their motto ‘For evil to triumph, all that is necessary is for good men to do nothing’, families of ten of the dead decided to pursue these men through the civil courts, where the burden of proof is lower. This is the remarkable account of how these families who had no knowledge of the law and no money, and included a cleaner, a mechanic and a bookie became internationally recognised, formidable campaigners and surmounted countless daunting obstacles to win a famous victory.
How these mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers turned themselves into the scourge of the Real IRA is not just an astonishing story in itself. It is also a universal story of David challenging Goliath, as well as an inspiration to ordinary people anywhere devastated by terrorism.
See photos and videos of the launch parties.
Interviews with Ruth and reviews of Aftermath.
Aftermath: the Omagh bombing and the families' pursuit of justice has won the Crime Writers' Association Gold Dagger award for non-fiction
SUNDAY TIMES 'CURRENT AFFAIRS BOOK OF THE YEAR'
Aftermath: The Omagh Bombing by Ruth Dudley Edwards
The Omagh bomb, detonated 11 years ago, was the worst atrocity in Ulster’s modern history. Dudley Edwards has pieced together the conspiracy carried out by the Real IRA, the so-called “dissident Republicans”, as opposed to the good terrorists who now draw full salaries and parliamentary allowances. Aftermath is a portrait of and a tribute to the families of the victims who decided to mount an unprecedented challenge to the bombers by taking them on in the civil courts. It is also a gripping legal drama, featuring Jason McCue, the glamorous Notting Hill lawyer who, propelled by a mixture of vanity and dogged idealism, took on the case and won. It is an extraordinary story, and events of the past few weeks suggest that the “bad” terrorists do not by any means believe it is over yet (Viking £17.99).