Omagh (2004)

Imdb Ranking 7.3

The movie opens with a group mixing a bomb out of fertilizer and chemicals. The date is August 15, 1998. We see a peaceful street, with merchants bringing their wares out on to the sidewalks. Michael Gallagher brings his son Aiden to work with him. Aiden later heads over to Omagh with his friend to go shopping. We then see men push an electronic switch in their car and then get out. They get in to another car and leave. A phone call is then made to a news organization. "Bomb. Courthouse. Thirty minutes." The police evacuate the area.

The car explodes and bodies are lying everywhere. Bodies are mangled, people are on fire, everyone is screaming in horror. Michael hears about the bombing and goes to look for his son. Everything is in chaos as Michael tries to search the streets, and the hospital. The Real IRA, a splinter group of the IRA, has exploded the bomb to try to halt the Good Friday peace accords. Twenty nine people were killed in the explosion.

Finally, someone comes to Michael at the hospital and asks him for identifying features his son may have. He walks in to a tent, and his son is then wheeled out on a table. He drives home and his wife and daughter run to the window. They know by looking at him.

Michael and his wife attends a meeting in the aftermath. People are shouting about who is to blame. Michael geys up and talks and helps to bring the bickering group together. They form the Omaagh Self help and Support group. Michael goes to meet with the local police, but doesn't get any where.

A lawyer tells the group that they may be able to sue the Real IRA for damages. They first go and picket the Real IRA headquarters with signs of their children that has their pictures and the word MURDERED under it.

Next the group meets with Gerry Adams, the President of Sinn Fein and the leading Republican politician in Northern Ireland. Michael won't shake his hand. Adams tells them that the bombing was an atrocity. The Omagh group wants to know who is responsible, but Adams says he doesn't know. The Republican government doesn't want this incident to get in the way of the peace process. It is clear they will not cooperate. They do not want to alienate any segment of their followers.

The identities of the probable bombers begins to emerge but no progress is made towards their arrest. Michael gets information from an IRA man about who it was that organized the bombings. This man tells Michael that the army knew what was going to happen but did nothing about it. Michael is told that they let it happen, perhaps to protect informants, perhaps because it was good for the peace process. He tells Michael that there will be no prosecutions.

Meanwhile things are falling apart at Michael's home. he is keeping busy searching for the truth, but those left at home, especially his wife, are barely functioning.

The finding of an Police Ombudsman report found that the police had been aware that the bombing was coming and didn't handle the situation well. They also found that the subsequent investigation was seriously flawed. Poor leadership and a lack of urgency.

Well done, and heart breaking. Once again there are no winners here. A very good movie showing, that at the tome of the movie, the troubled times of Ireland were not yet over.