Omagh bomb retrial begins
Omagh bomb retrial begins

The retrial of county Louth man Colm Murphy over the 1998 Omagh bomb has begun at the Special Criminal Court in Dublin.

The Omagh bombing remains highly controversial over allegations that state forces allowed the bomb to detonate despite full knowledge of the ‘Real IRA’ bomb plot and its participants.

Telephoned warnings inexplicably failed to clear the area around the bomb, planted in the centre of Omagh’s business district. Twenty-nine people lost their lives in the blast, persuading the breakaway group to declare a ceasefire.

Murphy’s original conviction was overturned and a new trial ordered in 2005 after it emerged that Garda police altered interview notes and evidence to make him appear guilty.

On Tuesday, the second day of the retrial, the court heard details of the three telephoned warnings which were given to the then RUC police about the bomb.

Former RUC sergeant Martin Miller told the court that he received the first warning on his computer system at 2.34pm on August 15th, 1998. The coded warning was received by the RUC from a Belfast newsroom that a bomb would go off in 30 minutes near Omagh courthouse.

One or two minutes later he received a telephone call from Coleraine that the Samaritans there had been given a coded warning that the bomb was 200 yards from the courthouse.

A third message he received confirmed the earlier warnings.

He said he heard a “massive explosion” at 3.05pm and all his computer and phone systems were knocked out. Mr Miller said he remains unaware whether the PSNI members involved in clearing the Omagh scene had been given details of the second warning.


Meanwhile, the PSNI said parts of a bomb have been found on Wednesday following an alert on a stretch of the M1 motorway in County Tyrone.

The road, the largest in the North, was closed for several hours outside Loughgall as British Army bomb experts examined a suspicious object.

The parts, which were found near the turn-off for Coalisland, have been taken away for further examination.

A 20-year-old man has been arrested in the Newry area in connection with the bomb alert.

There was also a bomb alert in Lurgan, County Armagh today following the discovery of an abandoned vehicle.

The PSNI evacuated a number of homes following the discovery of the vehicle, which had been stolen on Thursday.

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