Belfast Telegraph

Omagh bomb relatives watch as Seamus Daly appears in court accused of killing 29 in Troubles' darkest day

By Adrian Rutherford

Relatives of the Omagh bomb victims watched as a bricklayer accused of causing the atrocity appeared in court in the town yesterday.

Seamus Daly is charged with murdering 29 people in the 1998 Real IRA attack.

He was brought to court in a prison van and led inside, handcuffed to a security officer.

It came ahead of a hearing at Omagh Magistrates Court to determine if there is enough evidence to proceed to trial.

It marked the first time Daly (45), of Jonesborough, south Armagh, appeared in court in Omagh.

His first court appearance following his arrest in April 2014 took place in Dungannon.

Subsequent hearings have been conducted by video-link from the high-security Maghaberry Prison.

Relatives of the dead, including Michael Gallagher and Stanley McCombe, were among a group sitting just feet away.

Mr Gallagher lost his 21-year-old son Aidan and Mr McCombe's wife Ann died in the bombing on August 15, 1998.

Daly glanced towards them as he entered the glass-panelled dock of court number one yesterday morning. He was dressed in jeans, a grey quarter-zipped fleece and matching cardigan.

Later he stood motionless as the names of his alleged victims were read out as each individual charge was put to him.

Asked if he objected to the holding of the hearing, Daly replied "no".

The preliminary inquiry ran throughout yesterday and is due to continue today.

District Judge Peter King will then decide if the case meets the required standard to warrant trial.

A number of witnesses will give evidence over the two days.

However, legal restrictions prevent media outlets reporting details.

Daly is charged with 29 counts of murder.

He also faces charges of causing the explosion and possessing the bomb, and two charges relating to another dissident republican bomb plot in Lisburn in April 1998.

Daly, originally from the Republic, was arrested in April 2014.

At the time, he gave police a statement denying any involvement in the Omagh bombing or Lisburn plot.

The Omagh bomb was the single biggest atrocity of the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

The death toll included nine children and three generations of one family. One of the victims was pregnant with twins.

No one has been convicted in a criminal court of carrying out the attack.

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