Omagh bomb accused told police blast was 'tragedy'

One of the men accused of carrying out the Omagh bombing told detectives the loss of innocent lives was a disaster, a Dublin court heard today.

Investigating officers claimed Colm Murphy said the blast, which killed 29 people including a woman pregnant with twins, was a tragedy and an outrage but maintained he had nothing to do with it.

Detective Garda James Hanley told the Omagh civil action case in Dublin that Murphy would not condemn the attack when he was arrested in February 1999 for the unlawful possession of explosive substances in Dundalk between August 13 and 15 1998.

The RIRA bomb exploded on August 15, a busy Saturday afternoon, injuring hundreds.

Alleged RIRA leader Michael McKevitt; Liam Campbell, said to be his number two; Murphy; Seamus McKenna and Seamus Daly all deny any involvement.

The court heard Det Gda Hanley, who has since retired, interviewed Murphy six times in Monaghan Garda Station in February 1999 during which he was told his mobile phone signal had been picked up at a number of locations in the North, including Omagh, on August 15.

Reading from his interview notes, the former garda said Murphy first maintained he had his phone at all times at home, but later admitted lending it to another man.

Det Gda Hanley said officers asked Murphy if he condemned the attack.

“I’m not in the business of condemning, as I said it was a tragedy,” he replied.

It was claimed Murphy also told gardaí that even if he got 20 years his conscious was clear.

“I wasn’t in Omagh. It does me good to know I wasn’t there,” he said.

He later told officers the loss of innocent lives was a disaster.

“I have told you what I know,” he said. If I could change things I would. But other people have caused this disaster.”

Murphy, aged 56, was convicted in connection with Omagh in 2002, but later had his conviction overturned following claims two officers lied during his trial.

The action by six families is the first time the victims of terrorism are confronting the alleged perpetrators.

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