Man remanded on Omagh bomb charges

Man remanded on Omagh bomb charges

High-profile republican Seamus Daly has appeared in court charged with the murders of 29 people who were killed in the 1998 Omagh bomb.

He was remanded into custody following his appearance in the dock at Dungannon Magistrates' Court on Friday morning, amid a heavy security presence.Daly was detained in the Newry area on Monday as he accompanied his wife to a maternity hospital.After being granted extra questioning time, officers from PSNI's Serious Crime Branch charged the 43-year-old with 33 offences including 29 murder charges on Thursday evening.He was also charged with two charges linked to the explosion in Omagh and two offences relating to an attempted explosion in Lisburn earlier in the same year.A detective told the court that the case against Daly, who has a previous conviction for IRA membership, was based on phone, forensic and witness evidence.He said the accused responded "no comment" to every question asked during interviews but had given a pre-prepared statement to police denying all the counts.But the accused's lawyer, Dermot Fee, claimed there were "significant weaknesses" in the prosecution case."There is nothing new and nothing fresh that hasn't been available for a long number of years," he said.With his family now based in Jonesborough and his wife expected to give birth to their second child - the due date being on Friday - Mr Fee insisted that his client would not consider fleeing.He said he also wanted to contest the case against him."Why would he flee in circumstances such as this?" he asked.But Judge Conway said he was concerned that Daly could potentially go to the Republic of Ireland and refused bail.Michael Gallagher, whose son Aiden died in the bombing, was among those who watched proceedings from a packed public gallery.Dressed in jeans and a dark grey hooded top, Daly, who is from Cullaville, but now residing in Jonesborough, Co Armagh, did not speak during the half-hour hearing.He is due to appear in court again on 6 May.Daly had been found liable for the Omagh bombing in a landmark civil ruling in 2009.He has always denied any involvement in the attack.Twenty-nine people, including a woman pregnant with twins, died when a Real IRA car bomb exploded among shoppers on a busy Saturday afternoon in the Co Tyrone town on 15 August 1998.It was the single bloodiest terrorist attack in the history of the Northern Ireland Troubles and came only months after the signing of the historic Good Friday Agreement.

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