Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

No end to the anguish

Omagh: 29 murders, nine years of praying for justice, a £16m detective bill ... and not a single conviction

There is no end in sight to the grief of the families devastated by the Omagh bomb. Yesterday, almost a decade after Northern Ireland's worst terrorist atrocity, their hopes of justice were dashed once again.

Crown Court judge Mr Justice Weir was scathing of the police as he cleared Sean Hoey of being responsible for a Real IRA bombing campaign, which included the Omagh massacre in 1998 which claimed 29 lives.

Amid emotional scenes outside court, families of the dead were left stunned and angry but pledged to press ahead with a High Court civil action.

Michael Gallagher, whose son, Aidan, 21, was among the victims, said: " I think it is beyond belief what we have had to put up with this over the last nine and a half years."

Stanley McCombe, who wife, Ann, 48, died said: "I'm flabbergasted, dumbfounded."

But Hoey's mother, Rita, said she never doubted her son's innocence.

She said: "I want the world to know my son Sean Hoey is innocent. I want everyone to know that this is not a failure to bring those responsible to justice - Sean is innocent."

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