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Omagh families' fury as killer McKevitt appeals

By Deborah McAleese

The Omagh families today said they will do all in their power to uphold their successful civil case after Real IRA leader Michael McKevitt announced he is appealing the judgment that found him and three other men liable for the 1998 mass murder.

McKevitt, the mastermind behind the bombing, has instructed his legal team to launch appeal proceedings.

His spokesman told the Belfast Telegraph: “The campaign to expose the truth behind the Omagh bomb conspiracy will continue. The legal team acting on behalf of Michael have been instructed to appeal the judgment.”

Michael Gallagher, whose son Aiden (21) was murdered, said he will do all he can to ensure the verdict sticks.

He said: “We thought Monday would finally end this process and people could start to move on, but that is not going to be.

“But I am not concerned about the appeal. What Michael McKevitt decides to do is between him and his legal team. If their appeal application successfully goes through and the original decision is upheld it will strengthen Monday’s judgment even more.

“I think we will do everything we can to hold the verdict we got on Monday.”

McKevitt is currently serving a 20-year prison sentence in the Republic for directing terrorism. The 59-year-old from Blackrock, Co Louth was the first person to be convicted of the offence, which was created in response to the Omagh bombing.

A former quartermaster in the Provisional IRA, he set up the splinter terror group in 1997 after falling out with the mainstream movement over its involvement in the peace process.

On Monday, McKevitt, Liam Campbell, Seamus Daly and Colm Murphy were all found responsible for the 1998 atrocity following a successful civil case taken by the Omagh families.

Northern Ireland’s incoming Lord Chief Justice Mr Declan Morgan awarded more than £1.6m in damages to 12 named relatives of 29 people, including a pregnant mother carrying twins, who were killed in the Real IRA attack. Later this month a court will decide if the four dissidents will also have to pay the legal costs of the case, which are estimated to top £4m.

It has emerged that Campbell could be personally liable for the Omagh families’ multi-million pound legal bill after he voluntarily withdrew from the case and lost legal aid status.

Ruling on Monday that Campbell had been a member of the RIRA’s ‘Army Council’ and was personally involved in the bombing, Mr Justice Morgan said: “It is inexplicable that he should not have answered to this case if he had an answer to it.”

Belfast Telegraph


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