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Leading republican charged with 1998 Omagh bombing

PROMINENT republican Seamus Daly was last night charged with the single worst attack of the Troubles - the 1998 Real IRA Omagh bombing.

Twenty nine people, including a woman pregnant with twins, were killed and more than 200 people were injured in the attack on the Co Tyrone town in August 15 1998.

No-one has ever been convicted in a criminal court of carrying out the bombing.

Daly (43), from Cullaville, Co Monaghan, was arrested in Newry on Monday.

He is to appear before Dungannon Magistrates Court today.

Daly faces a total of 33 charges, including 29 murder charges and two others linked to the Omagh bomb, and two other charges connected to an attempted explosion in Lisburn in April 1998.

Michael Gallagher, pictured, whose son Aidan was killed in the bombing, said the charges were a "significant development".

"It sends a very strong message to the people who carried out the bombing that the PSNI and Garda are still actively investigating," he said.

"We know that this is just the beginning of a very lengthy legal process."

Mr Gallagher said he planned to be in Dungannon Magistrates Court today for Daly's appearance.

He was among relatives of some of the victims of the Omagh b o m b i n g who brought a civil action against the men they claimed were responsible, including Seamus Daly.

In June 2009 Mr Justice Morgan, found four men - Daly, Michael McKevitt, Liam Campbell and Colm Murphy - liable for the Real IRA bombing following a civil hearing.

They were later ordered to pay more than £1.5 million in damages.

McKevitt and Campbell failed to have the findings against them overturned.

Murphy and Daly appealed and were granted a retrial,

but the judge ruled that the evidence against them was overwhelming.

Several attempts have been made to secure a conviction for the bombing but none have proved successful.

In 2002 Colm Murphy was convicted at the Special Criminal Court in Dublin of conspiring to cause the Omagh bombing.

He was sentenced to 14 years in jail but his conviction was overturned in 2005.

Following a retrial in 2010, he was acquitted.

In December 2007, Sean Hoey, from Jonesborough, south Armagh, was cleared at Belfast Crown Court of the murder of 29 people at Omagh.

He was acquitted of 58 charges, including some not directly linked to the bombing.

* ARRESTED: Seamus Daly was charged last night with the 1998 Omagh bombing in which 29 people, including a woman pregnant with twins, were killed

* MASS MURDER: The aftermath of the Omagh bombing

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