The Sunday People, the newspaper which broke the Omagh bomb story, has welcomed the report published by the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland because it has confirmed the paper’s story that the RUC received information from "reliable informant" Kevin Fulton three days before the attack.
It also concluded that a letter sent on behalf of the Chief Constable, Sir Ronnie Flanaghan, to the Sunday People disputing this information was "factually wrong".
The People revealed on 29 July that police were tipped off three days before the Omagh bomb exploded, killing 29 people. The newspaper claims it was this investigation which led to the inquiry findings published this week.
Representatives of the families of those who died have specifically thanked the Sunday People for shedding light on what happened before and after the atrocity of 15 August, 1998.
The report from Nuala O’Loan said: "A letter sent on behalf of the Chief Constable to the Sunday People newspaper was factually wrong. It concluded that Fulton’s information was ‘retrospective’ and ‘found to be without any foundation whatsoever’. It was not retrospective and has been found to have substance."
Editor Neil Wallis said: "Nothing should ever take away from the fact that those responsible for the outrage perpetrated on Omagh are the evil cowards in the Real IRA who made and planted the bomb.
"But the victims’ families deserved to know the full truth about what happened to their loved ones.
"After we presented the allegations in July of this year we were vilified by the establishment for daring even to probe into what went wrong in Omagh that day.
"Clearly the Ombudsman’s report justifies our investigations."
Sunday People Ireland editor Greg Harkin, who made the investigation, said: "Attempts to slur both me and the Sunday People as a result of our inquiries have backfired.
"Most importantly for me as a journalist who lives and works in Northern Ireland has been the response of the families of those who died, who have been contacting me to thank me and the Sunday People for launching an investigation in the first place."
By Jean Morgan