The case against a man accused of murdering 29 people in the Real IRA bomb attack in Omagh in 1998 has collapsed.
Seamus Daly, 45, from Jonesborough, County Armagh, was arrested in 2014. The bricklayer, originally from Culloville, County Monaghan, also faced charges of causing the explosion. The Omagh bomb was the biggest single atrocity in the history of the Troubles in Northern Ireland. It happened just four months after the Good Friday Agreement was signed.
The death toll included nine children and three generations of one family, but no-one has been convicted in a criminal court of carrying out the attack.
Along with the murder charges, Mr Daly faced charges of causing the explosion and possessing the bomb, and two charges relating to another dissident republican bomb plot in Lisburn, County Antrim, in April 1998.
After his arrest, Mr Daly gave police a statement denying any involvement in the Omagh bombing or Lisburn plot. His lawyers argued that the case against him is weak and much of the evidence had been discredited. During preliminary hearings, a key witness gave inconsistent evidence and contradicted his previous testimony. The Public Prosecution Service has now decided there is no reasonable prospect of conviction and they have withdrawn the case.
Michael Gallagher, whose son Aiden was killed in the Omagh bombing, said he was unhappy that information was circulating on Tuesday morning about the collapse of the case, yet claimed he and other families had not been told by the authorities. “We have been failed once again by the police service, by the prosecution service, by the government and by the criminal justice system,” he said.