The Omagh Bomb : "We are not seeking vengence we are seeking justice." Parents sue bombers - after 10 years Police bungling
Almost unreported in England, the civil action against 5 men by Omagh relatives who they claim were were behind the 1998 bombing, starts today in the High Court in Belfast and is scheduled to last 4 weeks. No-one can be jailed as a result of the action, but the families hope it will finally uncover the truth about what happened.
The August 15th 1998 attack left 29 people dead, including a woman who was pregnant with twins, and some 250 people were injured.
Those being sued are Michael McKevitt, Seamus Daly, Liam Campbell, Colm Murphy and Seamus McKenna.
Sean Hoey, an electrician from Jonesborough, south Armagh, was cleared of involvement in the Omagh bombing last December, principally because the Police screwed up the evidence. At the time Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde was very relieved to say that it was now unlikely that anyone would ever be convicted, unless one of those involved makes a confession. See Thursday, December 20, 2007 Omagh Bomber acquitted - FRU double agent who warned Special Branch ignored about lying police etc.,
McKevitt, 58, is awaiting judgement in an appeal against a conviction in the Irish Republic for directing terrorism.
He has won a fight for full legal aid to defend the multi-million pound compensation case.
Seamus Daly, of Culloville, Castleblayney, Co Monaghan, was sentenced to three years after being found guilty of membership of an illegal organisation.
Liam Campbell, 43, is in Portlaoise Prison in the Republic of Ireland on terrorism charges unconnected to Omagh.
Colm Murphy, 56, was sentenced to 14 years in prison in January 2002 for conspiracy to cause the Omagh explosion, but the conviction was overturned on appeal and he is awaiting a retrial.
All five are denying any involvement.
London solicitor, Jason McCue, has been hired by the families with senior counsel Lord Brennan QC representing the families.
Only last week Chief Justice John Murray ruled that there was "nothing that prevents" material from the men's trials from being furnished to the plaintiffs.
It is said Legal history will be made when the judge, Mr Justice Morgan, travels to Dublin for two weeks to hear evidence from 24 Irish Garda officers whom the families believe have valuable information about what happened. How much co-operation the garda officers will be prepared to give is unclear.
Kevin Fulton, a double agent run by the British Govenrment who infiltrated both the Provisional and later the Real IRA will (it is said) give evidence.
He claims to have delivered warnings to the RUC that an attack was about to take place at Omagh, but says the warning was ignored.
Aiden Gallagher then aged 21, the son of campaigner Michael Gallagher was killed in the bombing. His father os quoted : "It has been a long and difficult seven years and there have been many struggles and hurdles. We haven't had any reassurance from the Gardai that officers will give evidence. We have concerns about the Irish government dragging their heels But nothing can take away from the fact that it is a magnificent achievement that we have finally got to court. "
"We are not seeking vengence we are seeking justice."
None of the five men being sued will attend Belfast High Court to give evidence or face cross-examination.