Relatives of Omagh victims to meet lawyers


Omagh bomb victims' relatives were meeting their lawyers this week to ensure the legal action against the men suspected of the atrocity was on course.

With £1 million sterling (€1.6 million) raised from the public to take the fight into Northern Ireland's High Court, the families of some of the 29 people killed have stressed the need to carry out regular progress checks.

Mr Michael Gallagher, whose son Aidan (21) was killed in the August 1998 "Real IRA" attack on the Co Tyrone town, insisted they were not putting their London solicitors under any pressure.

He said: "We want to check what evidence they have amassed against these people. "As far as money is concerned our solicitors can show and prove to us they are doing a good job and they are on track with the civil action.

"They have our full support but where the public have supported the families we feel it's important to make sure we are the guardians of that support."

The bid for compensation from five alleged members of the dissident republican terror organisation is not due to be heard in Belfast until next Spring.

But Mr Gallagher and Mr Gerry McFarland, whose 17-year-old daughter Samantha was also killed in the huge car bomb blast, will be given an update on progress when they go to the H2O firm of solicitors on Thursday.

Mr Jason McCue, the H2O lawyer who served writs on the suspects in July, was unavailable for comment today.

But a newspaper article reported the firm's lawyers were charging reduced fees and quoted Mr McCue as saying the families' campaign has eaten up a large chunk of the cash raised.

A clutch of top barristers have been brought in to fight the case, including Lord Brennan QC, a former head of the British bar.

Mr Gallagher admitted he would be seeking reassurances when he meets his legal team, but stressed there was nothing unusual in that.

"I have no reason to believe this meeting will not, at times, be challenging," he said. "We always ask difficult questions. As clients of a serious civil action we have to ask difficult questions."