Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Omagh families in vow over damages

A police officer looks at the damage caused by a bomb explosion in Market Street, Omagh, Co Tyrone in 1998

Relatives of Omagh bomb victims have vowed to relentlessly pursue the £1.6 million in damages that the men found liable for the attack have been ordered to pay.

Their pledge came after two republicans were ruled responsible for the 1998 atrocity at the close of a landmark civil case in Belfast High Court.

The families insisted they had also not given up on securing a criminal conviction for the dissident republican outrage that claimed the lives of 29 people, including a woman pregnant with twins.

Colm Murphy and Seamus Daly, both from the Republic of Ireland, had faced a retrial after they successfully appealed against a finding of liability made against them and two other republicans at the end of the original civil case four years ago.

But their second trial delivered the same outcome in the same court, with judge Mr Justice John Gillen today ruling the men were responsible for the Real IRA attack.

Between them, Murphy, Daly, Real IRA chief Michael McKevitt and republican Liam Campbell owe the 12 bereaved relatives who took the case £1.6 million.

However, the decade-long civil action, which could still be subject to another appeal, is estimated to have cost the taxpayer many millions more in legal aid and court bills.

Stanley McCombe, whose wife Anne was killed, said the families were determined to make the four men pay up.

"When you go before a court and you are fined for whatever you do, you pay your fine, you pay your debt to society, whatever you do, so why should these people get away, why should these people live in the lap of luxury?" he said outside court.

Michael Gallagher, whose 21-year-old son Aiden died in the blast, said retrieving the damages would send a signal to terrorists contemplating similar acts of violence.

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