Man accused of Omagh bomb murders and Lisburn blast plot appears in court

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A bricklayer accused of murdering 29 people in the Omagh bombing and plotting an earlier, failed blast in Lisburn, appeared in court yesterday.

Seamus Daly (45) sat in the dock of Omagh Magistrates’ Court for the first time for a hearing to determine whether there was enough evidence to proceed to Crown Court trial.

After his arrest in April 2014, Daly appeared in court at Dungannon and following his remand in custody subsequent hearings have been conducted via video-link from Maghaberry prison.

As well as the 29 murder counts, Daly, from Kilnasaggart Road, Jonesborough, Co. Armagh, faces charges of causing the August 1998 Omagh explosion and possession of a bomb with intent to endanger life or property.

He is further charged with conspiring to cause an explosion and having explosives with intent in connection with a separate dissident republican bomb plot in Lisburn earlier in 1998.

In April that year a device, said to contain some 600-700lbs of explosives, was discovered in a vehicle at Lisburn’s Market Place after a number of telephone warnings were received. It was made safe after three controlled explosions.

Yesterday relatives of a number of those killed in Omagh watched from the public gallery as Daly sat yards away in the dock. At the outset the accused stood while the names of his alleged victims were read out as each individual charge was put to him.

He answered “no” when asked if he objected to the holding of the hearing.

District Judge Peter King was assessing evidence to determine if it was of sufficient strength to warrant trial. A number of witnesses were due to give evidence over two days.

Legal restrictions prohibit reporting details of evidence heard during the preliminary investigation.