Men found liable for Omagh bombing to appeal

Friday 22 March 2013 23.58
Colm Murphy (pictured) and Seamus Daly are to appeal the decision against them
Colm Murphy (pictured) and Seamus Daly are to appeal the decision against them

Two men who were found liable for the 1998 Omagh bombing earlier this week are to appeal the decision.

In a civil action taken by relatives of the victims, a Belfast High Court judge this week decided there was compelling and overwhelming evidence against Colm Murphy of Dundalk, Co Louth, and Seamus Daly from Culaville, Co Monaghan.

A lawyer for the two today confirmed they will proceed with their right to challenge the ruling.

The families have been awarded damages totalling £1.6m (€1.87m), but the final legal aid bill for plaintiffs and defendants will be a multiple of that amount.

29 people, including the mother of unborn twins, died in the August 1998 explosion. Hundreds more were badly injured.

Mr Murphy, a Dundalk-based contractor and publican, and former employee Mr Daly were ordered to face a retrial after successfully appealing against being found responsible in 2009.

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

During the second hearing, it was claimed that Mr Murphy supplied mobile phones to the bomb team.

Mr Daly was allegedly linked by a call made on one of the phones just after the explosion.

On Wednesday, Mr Justice Gillen ruled that both men were liable on the balance of probabilities.

He identified compelling circumstantial evidence that two mobiles linked to Mr Murphy were used in the attack.

The builder's denials about lending his phone to anyone and subsequent explanation to gardaí amounted to lies with no innocent explanation, according to the judge.

The same verdict was returned against Mr Daly, based on his conversation on one of the bomb-run phones less than an hour after the explosion.

Mr Daly's guilty plea and conviction for Real IRA membership in November 2000 was also taken into account.

The victims’ relatives have pledged to relentlessly pursue all four men now held responsible for the money.

Following judgment, their senior barrister, Lord Brennan QC, claimed there was "zero" prospect of Mr Murphy and Mr Daly being able to overturn the decision on appeal.

He called for the nine-year legal battle to finally come to an end.

However, Mark O'Connor, of Larkin, O'Connor and Cassidy Solicitors, representing Mr Murphy and Mr Daly, confirmed: "We are planning to appeal the judgment."

Grounds on which the challenge is to be mounted are expected to be set out at a later date.