The trial of the man accused of murdering 29 people in the Omagh bombing eight years ago has been adjourned in Belfast.

The trial of Sean Hoey was due to begin this morning at Belfast Crown Court, but Mr Justice Weir adjourned it after an application from the defence legal team on health grounds.

He said he reluctantly agreed to the adjournment after being told that defence lawyer, Orlando Pownall QC, was unfit to proceed.

The court is to be told of Mr Pownall's health condition as soon as possible so that the trial might proceeed without further delay.

The families of the Omagh victims described the delay as 'extremely disappointing'.

They said they feared that should Mr Pownall be incapable of proceeding, the delay in the trial may be indefinite while new counsel familiarise themselves with the case.

Hoey denies all charges

Mr Hoey, 37, from Jonesborough in south Armagh has denied all the charges against him.

The unemployed electrician was arrested three years ago and is accused of murdering the 29 people killed in the blast.

He also faces a range of other terrorist-linked charges.

Relatives of those killed and injured in the Real IRA bombing in Omagh had arrived at the trial before it was adjourned this morning.

They have also asked the court service in Northern Ireland to relay the hearing by videolink to a location in the Co Tyrone town.

The case ranks amongst the biggest ever in Irish or British legal history and it is thought that it could last up to three months.