Page last updated at 16:57 GMT, Wednesday, 25 June 2008 17:57 UK

Dissidents 'in water poison plot'

Omagh bombing scene
Twenty-nine people were killed in the Omagh bombing

Dissident republicans considered a plot to poison the water supply in London, the Omagh civil case has been told.

US undercover agent David Rupert also claimed he was told of plans to attack a train loaded with nuclear waste and to spread foot-and-mouth disease.

Mr Rupert's statements and e-mails to his handlers were read out by lawyers at the High Court.

Five men are being sued by a number of Omagh families over the August 1998 bombing which claimed 29 lives.

All five defendants - Michael McKevitt, Liam Campbell, Seamus McKenna, Colm Murphy and Seamus Daly - deny liability for the bombing.

Mr Rupert, who infiltrated dissident ranks for the FBI, is currently on a witness protection programme after testifying at the trial of McKevitt, the convicted Real IRA leader.

Some of the statements read to the court referred to meetings Mr Rupert said he had with republicans opposed to the Northern Ireland peace process during the 1990s.

A prominent Continuity IRA man was said to have told him how valuable any strike on a British target was regarded.

"He said one bullet fired in England was worth more than five car bombs in the north (of Ireland)," Mr Rupert said.

Later in the proceedings, Michael O'Higgins SC, for McKevitt, made an application under the Hague Convention to have Mr Rupert cross-examined, and for FBI documents to be disclosed.

Mr Justice Morgan, the trial judge, indicated he was minded to ask the US authorities to make the agent be made available for cross-examination.

A ruling on whether to request the documents would be made by next month.

The trial continues.

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