A man accused of killing 29 people in the Omagh bomb was seen "laughing and sniggering" hours after the 500lb explosion ripped through the Co Tyrone town, a court heard yesterday.
As the death toll mounted on August 15, 1998, Seamus Daly, an alleged Real IRA footsoldier, was seen drinking in a Dundalk bar — owned by another of the accused, Colm Murphy.
Daly and Murphy are among five men believed to have been behind the 1998 blast. Real IRA leader Michael McKevitt, his alleged director of operations Liam Campbell and Seamus McKenna are also being sued by the families of six victims.
The civil suit at Belfast High Court heard how Terrence Patrick Morgan had seen Seamus Daly and a number of associates, whom he also believed were linked to the Real IRA drinking in the Emerald Bar on the night of the bombing.
The group were described by Morgan as "all tramps" and were named in court as 'Shanty' Brady, Colm Murphy, Seamus McKenna and a butcher known as 'fat boy'.
Referring to Daly's demeanour on the night of the bombing Mr Morgan said: " He was laughing, sniggering and drunk. That's what sticks in my mind that night."
He added: "They were laughing and talking away among themselves."
When asked by police if the group were "crying into their beer" he replied "no".
Morgan worked as a foreman at Colm Murphy's building site at Dublin City University. He was being questioned by detectives because his mobile phone was found to have travelled to Omagh in the Vauxhall Cavalier bomb car. During four days of interviews between February 21 and 25, 1999, he told police he had unwittingly lent the phone to his boss the Friday before the explosion.
While under caution Mr Morgan also told police that a highly intoxicated Seamus Daly had made an off the cuff remark about Omagh: "He was drunk and he was slabbering 'you were the driver of a van today'. He said to me, you drive the yoke into Omagh." When asked by police if the statement had shocked him, Morgan replied: "It did shock me".
However he did not make any reply: "I did not I just walked away. He (Daly) was drunk. I knew his pedigree after that."
Mr Morgan said the possibility of being implicated in the mass murder had " worried" him but he was too scared to say anything.