Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 December 2014

Black flags fly as dissident accused of Omagh atrocity dies in scaffold fall

Seamus McKenna
Seamus McKenna

Black flags have been erected around south Armagh after a dissident republican alleged to have been involved in the Omagh bombing died in a building site accident.

Seamus McKenna (58) was working as a labourer in Kilcurry, near Dundalk, when he fell from scaffolding last Monday.

He died in Beaumont Hospital in Co Dublin on Friday. It is understood his family decided to switch off his life support machine.

McKenna was named as one of five men involved in the Omagh bomb in the civil case brought by relatives of those killed in the 1998 atrocity.

They claimed that the republican, who was well known to the security services along the border, was linked to mobile phones used in the attack.

However, Mr Justice Morgan cleared McKenna in 2009 while finding Michael McKevitt, Colm Murphy, Liam Campbell, and Seamus Daly liable for the attack.

McKenna, who comes from a well-known republican family in Silverbridge, Co Armagh, was a member of the Continuity IRA at the time of the Omagh bomb.

He was found by gardai making a 1,200lb device in Co Louth in 2003 for CIRA and he served six years in Portlaoise prison. Black flags have been erected at a number of locations in McKenna's native south Armagh to mark his death.

The hard-liner was known to be a member of Oglaigh na hEireann in more recent times.

A spokesman for the Republican Network for Unity (RNU) the political wing of the dissident paramilitary group ONH, said: "Seamus was an ardent supporter of the continued insurgency in Ireland as well as the political position of RNU. His adult life was spent confronting partition and British rule in Ireland whatever way he could."

It is understood that his funeral will take place tomorrow and preparations have had input from RNU figures. Dissidents from across Ireland are expected to pay their respects.

The Omagh case against McKenna fell apart because it was based on testimony from his former wife, Catherine McKenna, who was deemed to be an unreliable witness. She told police that her former husband was a "drunkard" and alcoholic. However, she said she did not regard him as a "liar" and said she was not afraid of him.

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