Omagh bombers - early article

Now make the Omagh bombers face justice;
As republican terrorist is found guilty over the outrage that killed 29

23 January 2002
Daily Mail

The 'prime suspects'

THESE men were named as prime suspects by BBC1's Panorama in October 2000:

Telephone records obtained by Panorama suggest the 31-year-old was the 'hands-on manager' of the bombing. They show that two days before the attack he received calls from a man involved in stealing the bomb car.

The 29-year-old runs a company selling window frames in Dundalk. Panorama claimed a mobile registered to his firm was linked to the bombing. He told police the phone had gone missing on the day of the bombing.

A 39-year-old farmer from Dundalk who is alleged to be the Real IRA's 'Officer Commanding'. Police believe he organised the 500lb of explosives for the Omagh bomb. He has been arrested several times since 1985 on suspicion of terrorist activities. Last October he was jailed for five years in Dublin for membership of the Real IRA. Police believe he used an underground bunker at his farm as a terrorist training camp.

These two men are also suspects:

51, a former quartermaster general in the Provisional IRA, he is married to Bernadette Sands, sister of the IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands. He lives in a smart suburb of Dundalk, a border town in the Irish Republic, but is in custody awaiting trial for allegedly directing the Real IRA.

Veteran republican in his fifties who worked for Murphy as a labourer.

THE families of the Omagh bomb victims had their first glimpse of justice yesterday when a wealthy Irish publican and builder was convicted of conspiring to cause the outrage.

Colm Murphy, 49, a lifelong republican terrorist, is the only man to have been charged in connection with the 500lb blast which killed 29 people and unborn twins in 1998. The father- of-four loaned the bombers two mobile phones which they used. He showed no emotion after three judges in a Dublin court found him guilty and will be sentenced on Friday for the offence which carries a maximum sentence of life.

But families desperately seeking justice for their loved ones urged the authorities to renew attempts to bring the rest of the Real IRA gang to trial. The terrorists suspected of the worst single atrocity in Northern Ireland have been named on television and police admit they know their identities but lack evidence to charge them.

Michael Gallagher, whose son Aidan was killed, said: 'The court has sent a very strong message to the people who affected the lives of 600 families you will not be allowed to get away with it.

'But there were other people involved and it's important they are brought to justice.

'No one has been charged with murder at Omagh.' Victor Barker, whose 12-year-old son James died, said: 'This is a chink of hope. 'I hope this will be a stepping stone to the convictions of the others. Murphy is one of many people involved in this atrocity.' Mr Barker, who protested at Downing Street on Monday as Tony Blair met Sinn Fein MPs Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness, accused the Prime Minister of not listening to the families. 'As far as Tony Blair's performance is concerned for this atrocity as opposed to Pounds 200million he is pouring into Bloody Sunday Inquiry I am disgusted,' he said.

Kevin Skelton, whose wife and mother- of-four Mena, 49, was killed, said: 'This is the start of a long journey but until all the people responsible are behind bars I don't think our lives will move on. 'I want justice for my wife, my children and all the people who died.'

Lawrence Rush, whose wife Libbi was killed, said: 'This man knew those phones were going to be used to help attack some innocent target in Northern Ireland. 'The deaths of our loved ones should be on his conscience for ever. May God forgive him, because we never will.'

Using money raised in a campaign spearheaded by the Daily Mail Omagh Appeal, the families have made legal history by issuing a writ for compensation against the Real IRA and five individuals.

But Mr Barker said: 'We are desperately in need of more funds.' Jason McCue, the families' solicitor-said: 'You need more than one person to conspire and it's quite clear that other people were involved. 'There are no prosecutions in the North or South and that's why the families' civil action is more pertinent than ever.'

Last night Peter Mandelson, the former Northern Ireland Secretary, backed the families' campaign. 'This conviction is a great relief and is a step forward in bringing justice for the Omagh victims,' he said. 'The civil action should go ahead.' Northern Ireland Secretary John Reid said Murphy's conviction was 'one step towards getting justice for the victims of the Omagh tragedy'.

He added: 'I hope it will go some small way towards easing the grief and sadness suffered by the families. What is needed now is that the perpetrators of this atrocity are pursued vigorously and brought to justice.' The police investigation into the outrage in the Co Tyrone town has been dogged by controversy and criticism.

Murphy one of the suspects named by BBC TV's Panorama was found guilty after a week of deliberation at Dublin's Special Criminal Court. Mr Justice Robert Barr told him he was a proven liar with a long history of violent republican activity.

During the 25-day trial, prosecutor Peter Charleton said Murphy 'lent his aid to persons he knew were doing a bomb run' although he was in his pub at Dundalk at the time of the explosion. The judges accepted that Murphy borrowed a mobile phone from his unwitting foreman Terence Morgan. He gave that phone and his own 'to Seamus Daly, a dissident republican terrorist in Dundalk that day'. One mobile was used by the Real IRA taking the explosives from Co Monaghan to Omagh. The other was used by a team in a 'scout car' travelling ahead.

Assistant commissioner Kevin Carty, who headed the investigation in the Irish Republic, said the verdict was a milestone in the Omagh investigation. Paying tribute to the families, he said: 'We are acutely aware of the suffering and the pain these people are enduring. We hope the events here might go some way in assisting the healing process.' Detectives said Murphy aligned himself to whichever terror group was the most anti-British at the time.

One security source said: 'He never had the guts to be a handson terrorist but he was always in the background. 'As a builder who worked all over Ireland, he was able to transport men and explosives for them and was also in a position to employ known terrorists and to launder terrorist money. No terror group can exist without men like him.'

Murphy was jailed twice in the 1970s for firearms offences and in 1983 in the U.S. for gunrunning. After he was released, he moved to Dundalk and built up a facade as a respectable builder and publican.

To help the Omagh families, send cheques to: Omagh Victims Legal Trust, 56 Wendover Court, Chiltern Street, London W1U 7NE, or to the Bank of Ireland, Omagh, Co Tyrone, Northern Ireland.

0 Responses to "Omagh bombers - early article"
Return to top of page Copyright © 2010 | Flash News Converted into Blogger Template by HackTutors