Former US President Bill Clinton has said families of the 29 people killed in the “mass murder” of the Omagh bombing deserve justice.
Speaking on the podcast As I Remember It: Bertie Ahern & The Good Friday Agreement, Mr Clinton also warned that any inquiry into the killings should not be 'unilaterally' organised by the British Government and should involve the local community.
The Omagh bombing was the single worst atrocity of the Troubles and shocked the world because it took place four months after the Good Friday Agreement had been signed.
The bombing on 15th August 1998 was carried out by the Real IRA - a group of former members of the Provisional IRA who were unhappy with the ceasefire.
No one was ever convicted of the bombing but in 2009 a judge found Michael McKevitt, Liam Campbell, Colm Murphy and Seamus Daly liable for the atrocity in a civil case.
Earlier this month, the British Government announced an independent statutory inquiry to investigate whether there was advance knowledge of the bombing and whether it could have been disrupted.
“That [Omagh] was a mass murder that occurred after the agreement had been reached,” Mr Clinton told As I Remember It.
“So they can't say, ‘Well, we were out here fighting for truths, justice and the Irish dream.’
“And I think that there has to be some system set up… I don’t think there'll be mass firing squads.
“Nobody thinks about that but the trials that have occurred since Omagh have, some of them have been vacated because… the appellate courts found errors in the way the trial was conducted. “One of them fell apart because the principal witness changed his testimony.
“These things have happened; there needs to be something just for Omagh, I think.
“It may not be throwing 30 people in prison for 30 years and I think the victims groups need to be consulted.
“The citizens need to be consulted and I think the process should not be unilateral; that is, it can't just be what the British think should be done - the people in the community have to be considered.”
As I Remember It: Bertie Ahern & The Good Friday Agreement launches on Thursday.
Main image: President Bill Clinton, First Lady Hillary Clinton, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and wife Cherie Blair unveil a plaque at the site of the Omagh bombing, in Omagh, Northern Ireland.