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Tuesday, 22 January, 2002, 17:56 GMT
Omagh father's plea for justice
Omagh bomb street scene
'All the people of Omagh want is justice'
The father of one of the victims of the Omagh bomb has made an impassioned plea for the rest of the Real IRA gang he believes is responsible to be brought to justice.

Following the conviction of Colm Murphy for plotting the attack, Michael Gallagher said: "The court in Dublin has sent a very strong message to the people who came here and who affected the lives of 600 families - you will not be allowed to get away with it.

Mr Gallagher, whose son Aidan was among the 29 people killed, added: "That is an important message for Omagh.

"But there were other people involved in this crime and it's important that they are brought to justice as well."

Michael Gallagher, victim's father
Guilty verdict - 'is a strong message'

Some of the relatives have already started a High Court action seeking compensation against five men who they claimed were involved in the atrocity.

Mr Gallagher added: "This verdict is very important. All the people of Omagh want is justice."

Father-of-four Colm Murphy, 49, has been found guilty of conspiring to cause the explosion in the County Tyrone town on 15 August 1998.

It killed a total of 29 people, including a woman heavily pregnant with twins, and injured hundreds of others.

Finding peace

Omagh priest Fr Kevin Mullan agreed a full investigation into the bombing should continue but he added members of his community should also be allowed to move on and find peace.

Referring to the prospect of other suspects being uncovered, he told BBC news: "Now one knot is undone, hopefully others will be too.

Father Kevin Mullan
Mullan - we need to make a new start

"We have pleaded with people to come forward and repent but it has not happened.

"We owe it to those whose lives were lost to find out the full story - we should stand by the dead in that sense - but we also have to live in this community and make this a community where life is valued and cherished.

"We need to make a new beginning here."

Laurence Rush, whose wife Libbi died in the blast, said he had now "gone into a softer sadness away from the anger.

"I feel that a crack in the plate has now opened and I do not think that we will have to wait too long before we see justice done fully.

"I can only say that I genuinely believe the Real IRA are now in disarray - there's plenty of evidence linking them, and many individuals, to Omagh."

'Renewed vigour'

West Tyrone Social Democratic and Labour Party Assembly member Joe Byrne welcomed the conviction but also called for efforts to be stepped up to bring all the alleged bombers to justice.

He said: "There is a need for renewed vigour in pursuing those that it is believed have been involved with the bombing of Omagh.

The investigation is still very much active and alive

Asst commissioner Kevin Carty

"There is still an urgent need for maximum security cooperation between the police services north and south in order to bring a sense of justice to the Omagh families and the community at large."

Assistant commissioner Kevin Carty, who headed the investigation in the Republic, said the verdict represented a significant milestone in the Omagh investigation and he paid tribute to the families of the dead.

'Trial is a joke'

He said: "We are acutely aware of the suffering and the pain these people are enduring and all I can say is we hope the events here might go some way in assisting with the healing process.

"The commitment and resolve of the Garda Siochana and the Police Service of Northern Ireland to attempt to bring the perpetrators of this crime to justice is as strong now as it was on August 15 1998."

And he added that contrary to much criticism the investigation was still "very much active and alive".

Meanwhile Murphy's sister Angela Riley described the trial as "a joke".

She added: "I have had to sit here and listen to these lies."

Another family member described the outcome as a "political decision" and said: "The case should have been thrown out a long time ago."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC's John Thorne reports from Dublin:
"Mr Murphy had been charged with conspiracy to cause the explosion in Omagh"
Click here for the full special report

Ombudsman report

Bomb trial verdict

Archive - the blast:

PANORAMA
See also:

22 Jan 02 | N Ireland
09 Jan 02 | N Ireland
12 Dec 01 | N Ireland
17 Aug 98 | N Ireland
Links to more N Ireland stories are at the foot of the page.


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