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Monday, 28 January, 2002, 10:01 GMT
Omagh verdict: Your reaction?
A dissident republican convicted in connection with the Omagh bombing has been sentenced to 14 years in jail at the Special Criminal Court in the Republic of Ireland.
Colm Murphy, 49, was found guilty on Tuesday of conspiracy to cause an explosion on the weekend of the Omagh bombing.
Father-of-four Murphy was the only person charged in connection with the bombing of the County Tyrone town on 15 August 1998.
The Omagh bomb killed 29 people, including a woman heavily pregnant with twins, and injured hundreds of others.
The bombing - later admitted by the dissident republican Real IRA - was the worst single atrocity in 30 years of the Troubles.
What is your reaction to the verdict? Do you think the sentence is adequate?
This Talking Point has now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
I was born and brought up in Omagh until I was 21. The bomb killed many people I knew and had worked with. It sickens me to my stomach to see yet again the rantings of terrorist apologists, from the US and elsewhere abroad. Educate yourselves, there was no vindication for the Omagh bomb, or any other atrocity, from either side.
Firstly I would like to commend the Irish people and their justice system that has convicted one of these evil men. These people do not represent the decent people of Ireland any more than the Loyalist terrorists represent British people. I just hope this is the beginning of gaining justice for the British, Irish and Spanish victims of this terrible crime.
Gerrard Fagbemi, UK
Typically none of your correspondents thinks about the reasons why Colm Murphy would want to perpetrate such an atrocity. Britain has now harvested the fruit of its centuries of violence and atrocities against the Irish people. Do you English ever read your history? If not, you will be condemned to repeat it. The violence you have recently inflicted on innocent Afghanis, not to mention half a million innocent Iraqi children, will no doubt similarly be revisited upon you.
This decision is another miscarriage of justice by a non-jury kangaroo court seeking a politically correct verdict. Fabrication and perjury by the Irish police will not stand any more than the corrupt verdicts of the Birmingham 6 or the Guildford 4. It is only a matter of time.
Anne Duff, USA - Your comments very much offend me. Where do you think the Real IRA got its money to commit the terrible crime at Omagh? Mainly from sympathisers in the USA who haven't the first idea of what being on the receiving end of terrorism is like. September 11th changed all that, and what was the result? Howls of retribution, and quite rightly. If you accuse the Irish/UK of illegally putting away the people responsible, what do you think of the USA's conduct in incarcerating the Al-Qaeda 'illegal combatants' without following the usual rule of law?
All terrorists are terrorists regardless of which country they strike against, and should all be punished accordingly. That includes Colm Murphy.
I think it is justice that someone other than the police force has finally been found to have been at fault. My father is in the police force and it is a disgrace that they were degraded in the report findings. In what other country in the world would the police get blamed for causing an explosion?
I'm glad my country has managed to bag one of the terrorists involved in that despicable crime. While there are more out there who were involved, we are at least one step closer to resolution. Mr Murphy has a lot to answer for. I feel some regret that in Ireland we have no death penalty.
Colin Hoyle, UK
I agree with the verdict, however, I cannot see why the country has wasted time and money, because the government will release him, or even worse give him a seat in our Parliament!
I can only hope that this is the first step in bringing the rest of the people involved in the Omagh bombing to justice, and that my family and the other families affected by the bombing may finally feel that some kind (if any) justice has been brought about. It will never bring our loved ones back, but it is one step closer to letting their souls rest in peace....
I find it a little surprising that such a major explosion could have been planned and executed by just one person. By all means if this man is guilty then throw the book at him, but I can't help but think there must be more to this than we have already seen, and that he can have acted in isolation. Let's not have another "Guildford" or "Birmingham" fiasco just to make it appear like we have got some kind of a result.
The next question is what the sentence will be and how long he will actually serve.
It sickens me that people still believe the death penalty is a justified solution. It is an evil equal to murder itself. My family comes from Omagh and we're delighted with the verdict. It proves that the Real IRA are brutal individuals and have no aim other than to kill innocent individuals, both Protestant and Catholic.
He's the only one? Where are all the rest of them? Hiding no doubt, behind their mother's skirts like the cowards they are. But they know who they are and one day when that circle goes all the way around, they will be brought to task for the evil atrocities they have engineered.
I totally agree with Andy, UK. If you go after the men behind an act like this in one case you should go after the men behind it in all cases. But even if they do get caught, what kind of sentence will they serve? A year or two and then declare themselves supporters of the peace process and consequently released? What kind of justice is that?
The intelligence forces know who committed this atrocity. So why don't they arrest them all?
To Jo, England: Yes the people who did this are known to the intelligence services. But regrettably they are protected from on high and are virtually untouchable.
This can only be a good thing. The taking of innocent women and children's lives is barbaric and totally unacceptable. We all know the agenda of the Real IRA - generating funds through illegal activity. Let's get stuck in and end other activities like punishment beatings and make Northern Ireland a safe place for people to live in.
If people who are involved with this type of activity are found out regardless of origin, background, gender or belief, they forfeit any human rights they had. I say let them rot.
So why wasn't he shackled up, blindfolded and made to wear bright orange overalls and kept in an open air cage? Oh yes how stupid of me, we have double standards for republican dissidents. Or is that illegal combatants?
If the peace process is to have any hope of survival, then this man must be made an example of. If all sides are truly committed to a lasting truce there can be no hiding place or amnesty for any dissidents who continue to murder and maim in the name of religion. The law of the land should recommend a life sentence with no parole. The law of common decency demands the death penalty.
Could I just point out that the "worst atrocity of the troubles" was the Dublin and Monaghan bombings of 1974. Thirty three people were killed when four bombs exploded almost simultaneously. Both of these incidents were horrible acts of cowardice by the perpetrators and it is good to see someone being brought to justice.
Gerard, Dublin, Ireland
"Today's decision is an excellent example of the Irish justice system in action"
Yes, Gerard. Certainly if you consider a juryless trail in which the Gardai fabricated evidence is fair. Murphy is one of "the usual suspects" and fitting him up wouldn't exactly be hard given the circumstances. An unsafe conviction.
It wouldn't at all surprise me in a couple of years time when this evil man is released from his comfortable prison cell, that he'll write a best selling book about the bombing, and a dubious TV channel portrays him as a misguided folk hero.
Terrorists like Murphy are no better than Al Qaeda terrorists. Send him to Guantanamo in Cuba with the rest of them!
I'm waiting for Tony Blair to now declare war on terrorism in Ireland. Where is the USA? Will they not support the UK and send in some troops and B52 bombers to bomb Ireland? After all the Irish people will be just "unavoidable" casualties" in their war against global terrorism.
Martin, UK: Who knows, if he had blown up a building in the US maybe he would be shackled, blindfolded, made to wear bright orange overalls and kept in an open air cage. (When the prisons in Texas get overcrowded the inmates are housed in tents.) And it's likely few Americans would shed tears over him. And unfortunately he didn't go the now popular "suicide bomber" route. I guess you'll just have to trust the way your government is choosing to handle the situation.
I agree with Lesley, coming from Canada I can not possibly conceive how they can have ex-IRA members sitting in parliament. Another thing I have trouble understanding is why we hear so much more about Sunday Bloody Sunday here in Canada than we hear about the Omagh bombing.
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