Monday 5 December 2016

Two men found liable in civil action for 1998 Omagh bombings have denied having any significant assets

Tim Healy

Published 14/10/2015 | 18:33

In what was at times a heated and testy exchanges, both men said they had no interest in several properties mainly located in Co Louth.
In what was at times a heated and testy exchanges, both men said they had no interest in several properties mainly located in Co Louth.

TWO of four men found liable in a civil action for the 1998 Omagh bombings have denied having any significant assets.

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Liam Campbell and Michael Colm Murphy were questioned before the Master of the High Court Edmund Honohan today by lawyers acting for relatives of the 29 people killed in the atrocity.

The relatives sought the questioning in aid of execution of a judgment they obtained in a Northern Ireland Court.

The families' lawyers are seeking details of all shares or interests in companies they may hold, savings or monies held in bank accounts, as well as details of any debts or liabilities they may have.

In what was at times a heated and testy exchanges, both men said they had no interest in several properties mainly located in Co Louth.

Mr Campbell, who said he has been unemployed for many years and last got a social welfare payment in the 1980s, said the only assets he owns are half shares, along with his wife, in the family home and a 3.5 acre plot of land adjoining their home.

Mr Murphy, who strongly denied having anything to do with either the Omagh bombing or having any involvement in the IRA, said he had no assets as his ex-wife had "cleaned me" following their divorce.

Mr Campbell of  Upper Faughart, Dundalk and Mr Murphy of Lower Faughart, Dundalk, Co Louth were, along with Michael McKevitt and Seamus Daly, found responsible for the 1998 atrocity by the High Court in Belfast.

They were ordered to pay the families a total of Stg£1.6m. That judgment has been formally recognised in the Republic.

They were ordered by the High Court in June to provide sworn statements disclosing their assets and means. The victim's families claimed the two failed to provide such statements.

Last month, their lawyers secured orders from Mr Justice Anthony Barr directing that the two be attached and brought before the High Court in Dublin to explain their alleged contempt.

Yesterday both men, who their lawyers said came in a voluntary capacity, attended for questioning before Master Honohan.

In response to questions from Andrew Robinson Bl for the families, Mr Murphy  angrily rejected an assertion by counsel that he was ever a member of the IRA.

He said he was wrongly charged and convicted before the Special Criminal Court in respect of the bombing.. He said he was convicted because of "garda perjury", and was subsequently acquitted at a retrial.

As he was charged "nobody wanted to have anything to do with me." he said.

He  lost his construction business, which had employed 60 people, because he was charged in connection with the bombing.

He accepted having previous involvement with property assets and a company, but now "I own nothing" he said.  After his arrest everything "got f**ked up" he said.

In response to Mr Robinson's questions, Mr Campbell denied having any interest, in the past or currently, in approximately half a dozen properties located in Athlone, Co Westmeath, Castlebar, Co Mayo, or in Co Louth or to companies.

Several of the properties it was claimed were in the ownership of people alleged to be relatives of Mr Campbell.

The court also heard of the relatives concerns the properties may have been transferred by Mr Campbell to others who now hold the properties for his beneficial interest.

Mr Campbell rejected this, and said the only properties he had any interest in were the family home and adjoining lands. 

Following their examination both men undertook to each provide a sworn statement containing a list of all their assets, such as property, worth more than €5,000, which they have an interest in,  by October 23.

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