Saturday 16 December 2017

Republican charged with murdering 29 people in Omagh blast

Claire Williamson and Rebecca Black

A HIGH-profile republican has been charged with the murder of 29 people in the Omagh bombing.

The 1998 bombing by the Real IRA was the worst single atrocity of the Troubles in the North.

Seamus Daly from Culloville, Co Monaghan, was arrested in the Newry area last Monday and was charged at Antrim police station yesterday.

The 43-year-old is charged with the murder of 29 people who died in the explosion on August 15, 1998, and a number of other offences.

He also faces two charges related to the Omagh explosion and two charges linked to an attempted explosion in Lisburn in April 1998.

In total, he faces 33 charges.

Daly has always denied involvement in the bombing. He is due to appear in court in Dungannon today.

Some 29 people – including a woman pregnant with twins – were killed and hundreds injured on the busy street in the middle of Omagh when the massive Real IRA car bomb exploded.

It came just months after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.

The dissident group had attempted to issue telephone warnings ahead of the blast. However the information about exactly where the bomb was located was unclear and police evacuated the wrong area.

It exploded at around 3.10pm and killed 21 people outright. Eight more died on the way to or in hospital.

Michael Gallagher, whose son Aiden (21) was killed in the blast, welcomed the arrest.

"It is an important development and it sends a message that the police are continuing to pursue those responsible and that is a very important message."

He added: "It's consumed a large part of my life and it's very important, because Aiden was a lovely young person who had a lot to give to society and he was not allowed to live.

"As bereaved parents we can't walk away and say it was one of those things."

No one has ever been convicted in a criminal court in the North over the bomb.

Five years ago Daly was one of four men found responsible for the bomb at Belfast High Court after being sued by some of the victims' families.

The men were ordered to pay €1.9m to the bereaved relatives.

Daly faced a civil retrial after appealing. But the second trial delivered the same outcome as the first, with the judge ruling him responsible for the attack.

Irish Independent

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