Delay in Omagh bomb civil action


The retrial of two men being sued over the Omagh bomb atrocity will not begin until next year, it was confirmed yesterday.

A civil action brought against Colm Murphy and Seamus Daly has been delayed due to the ill-health of a senior defence barrister. Depending on her availability, the case is now expected to go ahead early in the new year.

Mr Justice Gillen, who will hear the lawsuit, told lawyers at the High Court in Belfast: “This trial will start on January 14th.” Murphy and Daly are defending an action brought by relatives of some of the 29 people, including a woman pregnant with twins, killed in the 1998 Real IRA outrage.

They were ordered to face a retrial after their appeals against being held liable for the bombing were upheld.

Two other men found responsible in the initial ruling, convicted Real IRA leader Michael McKevitt and fellow dissident republican Liam Campbell, failed to have the findings against them overturned.

The case, expected to last for six weeks, was supposed to get under way last month.

Mr Justice Gillen agreed to an adjournment after being informed of the barrister’s condition.

It was disclosed in court yesterday that British and Irish government officials are studying a report into the bombing for any potential public interest immunity issues.

Lawyers for Murphy and Daly have launched a legal bid to gain access to the dossier commissioned by the Omagh Self-Help and Support Group.

Legal report

The report, produced by a London legal firm as part of attempts to secure a public inquiry, examined all the inquiries and investigations to date on both sides of the Border.

Although its findings have not been made public, the Omagh families say it contains evidence that British and Irish authorities could have prevented the bombing.

It was presented to former secretary of state for Northern Ireland Owen Paterson in June.

Murphy and Daly’s legal representatives want to see the contents as part of their defence of the civil action.

A disclosure application is due to take place in court later this month.