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The coffin of Colm Murphy is carried to the Church of St Laurence O’Toole. Brian Lawless/PA
Colm Murphy

Funeral takes place for man found liable for Omagh bombing

Mourners gathered in Co Armagh for the funeral of Colm Murphy, who was found liable in a civil trial for the 1998 atrocity.

THE FUNERAL HAS taken place in Co Armagh of Colm Murphy, who was found liable in a civil trial for the 1998 Omagh bomb atrocity.

Murphy’s funeral was held in St Laurence O’Toole’s church in Belleeks.

Several hundred people walked in the funeral procession while others watched as the coffin, bearing an Irish tricolour flag, a beret and a pair of black gloves, was carried.

Murphy, who is originally from Co Armagh, died in Co Louth earlier this week at the age of 70.

embedded271841950 The coffin of Colm Murphy, who was found liable in a civil case for the 1998 Omagh bombing, is carried to the Church of St Laurence O’Toole, Belleeks, Co Armagh. Brian Lawless / PA Brian Lawless / PA / PA

Father Gerard Comiskey, who carried out the funeral mass, extended his sympathies to family members.

“It’s important for us to deal well with grief,” he said.

“We all know that whenever death walks through our homes, our communities, it always leaves behind a trail of tears, and a sense of loss.”

The Omagh bombing was carried out by the Real IRA and killed 29 people, including a woman pregnant with unborn twins, just months after the Good Friday Agreement was signed.

Murphy was originally arrested over the Omagh bombing in 1999 in a joint RUC-Garda investigation. He was charged with conspiracy to cause an explosion likely to endanger life or cause injury, as well as membership of the Real IRA.

In 2002 he was found guilty by the Dublin Special Criminal Court of conspiracy to cause the Omagh bombing and jailed for 14 years.

However, his conviction was overturned in 2005 and a new trial ordered.

In 2008, the families of some of the victims of the bombing began a landmark civil case, suing five men they claimed were involved, including Murphy.

The following year in Belfast a judge in the civil trial ruled that Murphy and four others were all liable for the Omagh bomb, ordering them to pay a total of £1.6 million damages to 12 relatives who took the case.

In the criminal case, Murphy was cleared after a retrial in 2010, after interview evidence from the Garda was ruled inadmissible.

In 2011, he won an appeal against the civil trial verdict but he was again found liable after a civil retrial in 2013.

Last year, a judge in Belfast recommended the UK Government carry out an investigation into the bombing, and urged the Irish Government to do likewise, after finding “plausible arguments” that there had been a “real prospect” of preventing the atrocity.

In February, the UK Government ordered an independent inquiry into the bombing.

Press Association