An Irish Republican has been charged with 29 murders over the 1998 Omagh Bomb attack, reports the Irish Independent. Seamus Daly, 43 from County Monaghan in the Irish Republic, had previously lost a civil case taken out by some of the victims families.
Daly was arrested on Monday by officers from the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s Serious Crime Branch and charged last night. He is accused of detonating a car bomb in the Omagh town centre in August 1998, just four months after the Good Friday peace agreement.
At 500lbs, the bomb was the largest of the Troubles, and its impact was compounded because those responsible phoned in warnings that proved to be inaccurate. The bombers made three warning calls, each said that a bomb had been placed close to the Court House on High Street, in fact the bomb was inside a red Vauxhall Cavalier parked on Market Street (pictured).
This meant that Police cordoned off a search area around the Court and moved people onto Market Street. The Police had believed the warnings as they were issued with a genuine IRA code “Martha Pope”.
The attackers remote detonated the bomb even though a party of school children were standing close to it. A number of children were killed.
Shortly after the bomb the ‘Real IRA’, a radical dissident Republican group claimed responsibility for the attack. They claimed the Police had misunderstood their warnings, something that the Northern Ireland Secretary Mo Mowlam described as “a pathetic excuse for mass murder”.
Mr Daly has been charged with 29 counts of murder, along with two charges linked to the explosion in Omagh and two counts linked to an attempted explosion in Lisburn in 1998. In the earlier civil case Daly and Colm Murphy were ordered to pay £1.5m in compensation to the victims families, they later lost an appeal against the ruling.
The case has been in the news recently because of the State visit of the Irish President Michael Higgins. The father of one of the youngest victims of Omagh stood outside Windsor Castle during the State Banquet holding a placard saying “A terrorist in a white tie and tails is still a terrorist. Martin McGuinness it is time to tell the truth”.
Mr Barker was apparently unaware of Daly’s arrest and undertook the protest because he believed McGuinness, who admits to having been second in command at the IRA, was likely to have known the identity of the bombers.
Daly has already served three and a half years for being a member of the Real IRA, which is a banned terrorist group.