Omagh bombing: Seamus Daly charged for mass murder
Nearly 16 years after single bloodiest attack of the Troubles, man charged with murders of 29 victims
A HIGH-PROFILE Irish republican has been charged with the murders of 29 men, women and children who were killed in the 1998 Omagh bombing.
Seamus Daly, 43, from Culloville, County Monaghan, was arrested on Monday and will appear in court today charged with mass murder.
It comes nearly 16 years after a Real IRA bomb exploded in the County Tyrone market town of Omagh on a busy Saturday afternoon. The victims included nine children and a woman who was pregnant with twins.
Nobody has ever been convicted of carrying out the attack. However, Daly was one of four men ordered to pay more than £1.5m in damages to the families of the victims in a civil case five years ago. The court ruled that they were responsible, but Daly has always denied any involvement.
Michael Gallagher, whose son Aidan was killed in the bombing, told the BBC that families had put the police "under pressure to pursue the investigation". He described the decision to bring charges as an "important and positive development".
The bombing was the single bloodiest terrorist attack in the history of the Northern Ireland Troubles and came only months after the signing of the historic Good Friday peace accord, says the Belfast Telegraph.
On 15 August 1998 a stolen Vauxhall Cavalier was driven into Market Street in Omagh and parked outside a clothes shop. A 500lb bomb packed in the car was detonated with a remote trigger, killing 21 people instantly and injuring hundreds more. A warning had been called in 40 minutes earlier, but had wrongly indicated the location of the bomb. People were therefore being evacuated by police, but were actually assembling at the site of the explosion. Eight others died from their injuries within a month after the attack.
Daly faces a total of 33 charges, including some related to another attempted bomb attack in Lisburn, County Antrim, which took place in the same year as the Omagh bomb.