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Question mark hangs over Omagh fire tragedy Inquiry findings

1 July, 2008

Sinn Féin West Tyrone MP MLA Pat Doherty says that a major question mark hangs over the conclusion of the Independent Review into the Omagh fire tragedy which claimed the lives of Lorraine Mc Govern, Arthur McElhill and their five young children.

He said:

"While I have not yet had time to study the report in full it is clear, at this early stage, that a major question mark hangs over the main conclusion of the Independent Review Panel that agencies involved with the family had no indication that a tragic event was about to occur given that the authorities had to act to remove a female teenage child who was not related to the family from the home prior to the tragedy.

"It is clear that the early warning signs were there but were not followed up upon; not only on this but other worrying aspects of this case.

"I believe that there is an acknowledgement of this fact in other findings of the Independent Review Report which criticise the communication of information between all agencies in respect of the offences committed by Arthur McElhill; dissemination of that information within the Trust and other agencies and the assessment of potential risks posed by Arthur McElhill to teenage girls because of those criminal offences; and good practice and management within the disciplines of the trust and other agencies.

"While 63 recommendations aimed at all agencies involved in supporting and protecting children and their families have been make in this Independent Review Report and the Minister has promised their speedy implementation, I still believe that it is essential that other relevant agencies like the PSNI who had been involved with the McElhill/McGovern family but who do not come under the jurisdiction of the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety carry out similar independent reviews.

"All relevant agencies to the case must carry out their own reviews as a prelude to a proper inter-agency inquiry being established." ENDS

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