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Victims to get Omagh bomber's share of Co Louth family home

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Bankrupted: Liam Campbell

Bankrupted: Liam Campbell

Bankrupted: Liam Campbell

A Real IRA leader's share of the family home is to be transferred to the victims of the Omagh bombing, the Belfast Telegraph can reveal.

Liam Campbell was found by the High Court in Belfast to have been the officer commanding the Real IRA on the day of the atrocity and to have coordinated the car bombing.

Twenty-nine people, including a woman pregnant with twins, died in the massacre on August 15, 1998. More than 200 people were injured.

Latest property documents show that his 50% ownership of his family home in Upper Faughart, Co Louth, has been cancelled and has been transferred to Chris Lehane of the Irish Insolvency Office - the person designated with taking property from bankruptees and giving them to creditors.

Lawyers for the Omagh families drove three of the bombers into bankruptcy last year after they failed to pay compensation awarded to the victims in a groundbreaking lawsuit.

The three - Liam Campbell of Upper Faughart, Co Louth; Michael McKevitt of Blackrock, Co Louth, and Colm Murphy of Jordan's Corner, Ravensdale, Co Louth - were declared bankrupt in Dublin's High Court after failing to collectively pay the £1.6m.

McCue and Partners, the firm representing the Omagh families, then began chasing the assets of the three men, culminating in the transfer of Liam Campbell's assets to the Republic's bankruptcy receiver.

Campbell also owes money to the Republic's Criminal Assets Bureau from his life as a border smuggler, but the Garda has stepped aside to allow the Omagh families to drive Campbell into bankruptcy and to take his property.

The 12 plaintiffs in the case include Mark Breslin, who lost his wife Geraldine, and Michael Gallagher, who lost his son Aiden.

Mr Breslin and Mr Gallagher, along with the other plaintiffs, will now own 50% of the Campbell family home, while Liam Campbell's wife Bernadette will own the other half.

Legal experts say she will not be able to sell the house without the consent of the Omagh families.

Liam Campbell continues to live in the house with his wife and family.

The house is worth several hundred thousand pounds - not enough to pay for the full £1.6m owned by Campbell, Murphy, McKevitt and a fourth man, Seamus Daly, of Jonesborough, Co Armagh.

Daly currently lives in Northern Ireland and is being chased for the money through the local bankruptcy courts.

In 2016 a criminal case against Daly, who was accused of murdering the 29 people at Omagh and causing the explosion, collapsed after the Public Prosecution Service withdrew the case.

Liam Campbell was cancelled as a joint owner of his home in September 2019, according to Irish land registry documents, and his interest is expected to be transferred to the Omagh plaintiffs after an official High Court application later this year.

Michael Gallagher said that Liam Campbell losing his share in the family home was a "first step".

"It should prove a lesson to anyone still involved in dissident republicanism - it's a waste of time and there are now ways to come after you and get your property.

"It doesn't take away the tragedy in this town, but it does send a clear message," he said.

Liam Campbell is currently fighting extradition to Lithuania, where is alleged to have tried to buy a huge assortment of weapons for the Real IRA.

The arms dealers were, in fact, undercover Lithuanian police officers working in coordination with British intelligence, according to evidence given to a Lithuanian court.

Campbell's barristers argue his extradition would be a violation of the European Convention on Human Rights because of the prison conditions in Lithuania.

The case is ongoing before the Dublin High Court.

McCue and Partners, the lawyers for the Omagh families, have now completed a second case for the victims of the 1982 Hyde Park bombings in London.

A court in London found that Donegal man John Downey drove the car bomb that killed four cavalry soldiers and seven horses. The court will decide this year how much money Downey will have to pay the victims.

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