Omagh accused breaks his silence

1 June 2010
The Irish News
Allison Morris

The only man ever convicted in relation to the Omagh bombing has broken his silence over the Real IRA atrocity.

Leading dissident republican Colm Murphy said the attack in which 29 people, including a woman pregnant with twins, died "should never have happened".

Describing events in Omagh on August 15 1998 as "awful, tragic" he said: "No-one in their right mind would say any different."

But last night Michael Gallagher, whose son Aidan died in the car-bombing, challenged Murphy to cooperate with authorities if he really condemned the attack.

"If Colm Murphy is now condemning the Omagh bomb then he should also do the right thing and contact the Garda or the PSNI and give an account of information he has in relation to it," Mr Gallagher said.

Murphy, a Co Louth building contractor, was sentenced in 2002 to 14 years for conspiracy to cause the explosion but was cleared at his retrial earlier this year.

While awaiting the retrial he was among four men found liable for the bombing in a landmark civil case taken by several of the victims' families. That verdict is being appealed.

Murphy was said to have provided two mobile phones used by the Real IRA gang which transported the bomb to Omagh.

Last week his son Conan (23) was arrested in a high-profile Garda raid in Dundalk, Co Louth, and charged with unlawful possession of explosives.

Along with Barney McKevitt it was alleged that the two were making a "substantial device" for use by dissident republicans in Northern Ireland.

However, in an interview with The Irish News the 57-year-old makes a series of claims alleging a "dirty tricks campaign".

Among his claims are that:

- He is the victim of an elaborate plot by intelligence agencies on both sides of the border;

- His son was making poitin, not explosives;

- Conan's arrest is linked to an ongoing campaign by the intelligence agencies.

Murphy alleges that a man on trial in Belfast for gun-running had confessed to being a paid informer and had been instructed to entrap him prior to his retrial.

Dermot Gregory, who also uses the name Michael Dermot, is on trial in a Real IRA gun-running case that involves evidence being given by members of MI5.

However, Mr Gregory has since been placed in protective custody in Maghaberry prison.

Murphy claims that prior to being remanded Mr Gregory made a full confession and had agreed to go public but backed down in fear of his life.

Murphy said: "My son has been set up because they couldn't frame me.

"There are dirty tricks at play here and Conan's arrest is just an extension of that."

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