Belfast Telegraph

Omagh bomb: Republican Seamus Daly remanded in custody charged with murdering 29 victims in Real IRA attack

By David Young

A republican successfully sued over the Omagh bomb has been remanded in custody charged with murdering the 29 victims of the Real IRA outrage.

Seamus Daly, 43, originally from Cullaville, Co Monaghan in the Irish Republic but now residing in Jonesborough, Co Armagh, appeared in the dock at Dungannon Magistrates' Court amid a heavy security presence.

He has already been found liable for the August 1998 attack in the Co Tyrone town in a landmark civil case.

Last night, detectives charged him with 29 counts of murder, two charges linked to the explosion in Omagh and two counts linked to an attempted explosion in Lisburn in April 1998.

Daly was arrested by officers from the Police Service of Northern Ireland's Serious Crime Branch in Newry on Monday as he accompanied his wife to a maternity hospital.

Deputy district judge Paul Conway refused a defence application for bail on the grounds that Daly might flee the jurisdiction.

Dressed in jeans and a dark grey hooded top, Daly did not speak during the half hour hearing.

The 29 victims, who included a woman pregnant with twins, died after the dissident republican car bomb detonated in Omagh town centre on a busy Saturday afternoon.

It was the single bloodiest terrorist attack in the history of the Northern Ireland Troubles and came only months after the signing of the historic Good Friday peace accord.

No-one has been successfully convicted of the bombing in a criminal court.

Five years ago Daly was one of four men found responsible for the bombing at Belfast High Court after being sued by some of the victims' families.

The men were ordered to pay £1.6 million to the bereaved relatives - money they are still pursuing.

Daly, who denied involvement, faced a civil retrial after successfully appealing against the original finding, but the second trial delivered the same outcome as the first, with judge Mr Justice John Gillen ruling him responsible for the attack.

A detective told the court that the case against Daly, who has a previous conviction for IRA membership, was based on phone, forensic and witness evidence.

He said the accused responded "no comment" to every question asked during interviews but had given a pre-prepared statement to police denying all the counts.

But the accused's lawyer, Dermot Fee, claimed there were "significant weaknesses" in the prosecution case.

"There is nothing new and nothing fresh that hasn't been available for a long number of years," he said.

With his family now based in Jonesborough and his wife expected to give birth to their second child - the due date being today - Mr Fee insisted that his client would not consider fleeing.

He said he also wanted to contest the case against him.

"Why would he flee in circumstances such as this?" he asked.

But Judge Conway said he was concerned that Daly could potentially go to the Republic of Ireland and refused bail.

Michael Gallagher, whose son Aiden died in the bombing, was among those who watched proceedings from a packed public gallery.

Belfast Telegraph Digital


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