59 1 min 14 yrs

Reader Typhoo rightly points out that ATW is neglecting  this important news breaking.  As a Californian, I don’t feel in any way qualified to provide commentary on this but I quote from the BBC and open up the discussion to interested readers.  BTW: David will return soon from vacation. 
 
 
"Man not guilty of Omagh murders
 Sean Hoey

Sean Hoey was found not guilty on all charges

A Northern Ireland man has been cleared of the murders of 29 people who died in the Omagh bomb attack in 1998.

Sean Hoey, 38, of Molly Road in Jonesborough, was found not guilty of a total of 56 charges, including those not directly linked to the bombing.

Speaking at Belfast Crown Court, Mr Justice Weir was critical of police evidence and said they were guilty of a "deliberate and calculated deception".

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59 thoughts on “Omagh Murders Breaking News

  1. A good post Patty. I fear these families will never find justice now. Everyone is feeling the disappointment that the families are feeling, but after this – the third trial, at a cost of £16million for the police investigation of this case alone, that this is the end of the road for the Omagh families. Where will they go now for justice? The media seem to think the government will not now go for an enquiry – especially after the cost of the bloddy sunday inquiry.

    (The other cases were Colm Murphy who had his conviction overturned, and McKevitt who was charged with directing terrorism, though Omagh wasn’t directly specified. )

  2. Yes. Even with forensic evidence being a little behind then to what it is now, it was total incompetence.

    The trial judge spent fifteen minutes reading out the summation of them.

    Lying in court, not properly labelling evidence – all of it, total incompetence.

  3. Loved the priest on BBC with Huw Edwards who said that getting the murderers banged up was only part of the issue. It did not seem important to him.

    There needed to be forgiveness. He did not say that those who did it would ask forgiveness. He hinted that the forgiveness could take place in another life.

    A man with no family can easily say these things. Only the church matters to men like him. Church before kids as we all know.

  4. So, was this man truly guilty, it’s just that the police screwed up the case? Or was there some justified doubt as to his involvement and guilt?

  5. Daphne those are 6 million dollar questions.

    His mother was infont of the cameras tonight to say her son sean hoey is an innocent man. One of the families – a mother whose child was killed in the explosion – said Hoeys sister came over and tried to shake hands with her. The mother claimed she did not know who she (Hoeys sister )was, and was weeping, and seemed clearly upset at the thought of shaking hands with this mans sister.

    On the one hand his campaigners are saying he is innocent, on the other if the police investigation had not been totally messed up then he may not be a free man tonight.

    Hoeys counsel claim that the police tampered with evidence and statements to beef up a case when there was no case to answer.

    And in the middle of all of this – the families of the dead.

  6. Daphne

    I don;t think any of us commenting here could possible know the answer to that, but it remains a terrible open wound to hundreds of people that in a small close knit community like Omagh, a terrible atrocity could result in the slaughter so many people and even the horror of that event cannot lift the veil of silence enough to bring the killers to justice.

  7. From V4democracy – quote

    ‘Today the only man to be charged with the Omagh Bombing walked free. Sean Hoey an electrician from South Armagh walked free as Justice Weir slammed the police investigation into the bombing.

    Victor Baxter lost his son in the Omagh Bombing. Today in an interview with ITN he stated that he had previously spoken to Gerry Adams and Martin McGuninness and believed that they could assist with the case. However Mr Baxter claimed that neither the deputy Minister or the SF President would help because of a code of conduct between Republicans. Mr Baxter further stated his belief that they are not worthy to sit in government.’ End quote

  8. >>that in a small close knit community like Omagh, a terrible atrocity could result in the slaughter so many people and even the horror of that event cannot lift the veil of silence<<

    This may be confusing to some people, Colm. The killers didn’t come from Omagh or Co. Tyrone but from South Armagh. It’s also wrong to suggest that the "man in the street" in S. Armagh knows more about who did what than the police or the public prosecutor – he doesn’t. The RIRA were absolute professional terrorists with decades of experience behind them; they certainly didn’t let anybody know what was going on apart from those directly involved.

    To Daphne’s question. It seems pretty sure that he was involved at least in some peripheral sense in the bombing. (his uncle was convicted in Dublin recently of planning the attack. The conviction was overturned on appeal, and he’s due for retrial soon).

    In any case (no pun), it was the duty of the PP to present clear evidence, and apparently the police messed up so bad – distorted evidence, told lies – that the whole thing fell apart. Former RUC chief Ronnie Flanagan comes out of it all very badly. He said he’d commit suicide publicly if he were shown to have messed up, so we’ll see if he’s as good as his word.

  9. >>neither the deputy Minister or the SF President would help because of a code of conduct between Republicans<<

    Absolute nonsense. There is no "code of conduct" between Republicans. The different strands of Republicanism despise each other (with the exception of the INLA perhaps) with all the loathing of friends who have fallen out. Nobody would like to see the RIRA closed down as much as SinnFein.

  10. Noel

    I wasn’t trying to imply that many ordinary people in Omagh know who carried out the attack or at least can provide evidence, I mean the many members of the RIRA wherever they come from and the dozens of auxiliary individuals who would have information.

    Thousands of people served sentences in N.I. and the south for many much smaller terrorist offences so the ability to convict was there. Is it really beyond the wit of all related parties from the police to associates of the killers to convict the guilty.

  11. Neol: Why and how did the police botch up the evidence? Is there some thought that it was intentional, or just sheer incompetence and/or bad luck?

  12. This is the first of several setbacks to come.

    Next up wiill be the release of Real IRA leader McKevitt from jail in Dublin as his appeal against conviction succeeds. It was the Real IRA which carried out the Omagh atrocity.

    Then the one man charged with the McCartney killing will walk. He’s not charged with murder anyway and the real culprits are home free.

    Then the one man charged with the Northern Bank robbery (£20 million) will be acquitted.

    Then the investigation into the Denis Donaldson murder will be quietly dropped.

    Then the investigation into the Paul Quinn murder will be quietly dropped.

    In each and every case, republicans will have escaped justice and proved that they remain above the law in both parts of Ireland under the new dispensation.

  13. Peter I think you could be right in your observations.

    (For those not familair with the terms IRA PIRA CIRA etc, the Real IRA are known as coca colas)

  14. >>people served sentences in N.I. and the south for many much smaller terrorist offences so the ability to convict was there.<<

    Colm, you must remember that the RIRA is an extremely small and elitist band – the hard core of Republican terrorists if you like. They certainly know how to cover their tracks, and in an operation like Omagh they would have known (which is rather obvious) to keep the circle of those with information restricted to those who were involved.

    >>Why and how did the police botch up the evidence? Is there some thought that it was intentional,<<

    Patty,

    First, the report by the police ombudsman in NI claimed that the RUC Special Branch received two – albeit vague – advance tip-offs indicating the place and day of the attack. The intelligence service says it passed these warnings on to SB, but SB denied receiving them.

    The report also said that Special Branch’s post-attack conduct was such that it greatly handicapped any arrest and/or conviction of the culprits. SB failed to pass on documents it had on the bombing to the team heading the investigation.
    The police were also very sloppy in collecting evidence; and later they transparently altered evidence to make a stronger case against one of the suspects.
    There were suggestions that they RUC Special Branch was – as usual – trying to protect one of its agents in the bomber gang, but that is speculation at this stage.

    >>Then the one man charged with the Northern Bank robbery (£20 million) will be acquitted.<<

    Peter, I was almost expecting you to say: "Then we’ll be told that Denis Donaldson wasn’t guilty after all of the Stormont spying affair that brought down the executive"!

  15. No code of conduct – (Martin the DFM has a code that he spoke about at the bloody Sunday inquiry) – Glad your in the inner core that knows that kind of thing. Tell us more – who did the dirty deed ?
    Republicans seem to know lots. Gerry knew that the IRA did not hit Quinn and loads more. Lets have some truth – who done what ?

  16. ”Colm, you must remember that the RIRA is an extremely small and elitist band – the hard core of Republican terrorists if you like. They certainly know how to cover their tracks, and in an operation like Omagh they would have known (which is rather obvious) to keep the circle of those with information restricted to those who were involved. ”

    Information was given to the police via an agent in the coca colas that a bomb was on its way to omagh a fortnight before the explosion.

  17. Peter
    They won’t be dropped because there is no direct evidence only wishful thinking and heresay will they??

  18. Why did only half my post show up????

    Noel, the rest of my post said, they weren’t that small or elitist that they had not been infiltrated, and as you go on to say – the police did know something was on its way. You say these are professional terrorists, Ifail to have your opinion of them. They are nothing but scum full stop.

  19. >>Martin the DFM has a code that he spoke about at the bloody Sunday inquiry<<

    A code of conduct within the organisation he feels loyalty to – obviously. But not to another organisation that is his sworn enemy and that has threatened to kill his comrades and by extension him too.

    >>Glad your in the inner core that knows that kind of thing<<

    Glad "your" admitting "your" losing the argument.

    >>Information was given to the police via an agent in the coca colas that a bomb was on its way to omagh a fortnight before the explosion.<<

    Typhoo, that’s not really true.

  20. ”Glad your in the inner core that knows that kind of thing.”

    Thats the trouble with these NI posts, many speak as though they are when all that is available to us all is what is in the public domain. Though I do fail to see how this bunch of rabble can be considered to be ‘professional terrorists’. They’re only scum in my book.

  21. Typhoo, that’s not really true.

    What isn’t ? The fact that Fulton didn’t say ‘bomb’? He gave five warnings according to O’Loan.

    The fact that they weren’t infiltrated. It’s an open secret Noel, everybody knows these dissident groups are heavily infiltrated. Ask Michael McKevitt – another agent put him away.

  22. Typhoo, sorry, didn’t get the rest of your comment.

    It was penetrated by agents, that’s true. But it was not a widely based organisation like the Provos in their heyday, and as such there would not have been people on the periphery with information on who did what, etc – which was my point.

    >>I fail to have your opinion of them<<

    My opinion is share by those in the forefront of the fight against them.

  23. Noel

    The very fact that the RIRA is a small organisation made up largely of disguntled former IRA members existing in a community with a much larger number of hostile ex colleagues should have made it much easier to constantly track them and know the behaviour of their members. The fact that they would also have had far less tacit empathy form within the nationalist community as the IRA of old would have had should also have made it much easier to bring out the evidence to convict. I just can’t understand how this whole business of getting justice for the dead of Omagh has failed so misereably.

  24. >>May I ask who?<<

    Why certainly!

    Gardai SB said that the Reals in S. Armagh took some of the most experienced operators in the area with them when it was formed. I don’t think this is denied by BA intelligence.

    BTW, you seem to think that because I consider them highly professional I somehow admire them.
    Well, I also think, say, Mitt Romney is highly professional at running a campaign, and you can take my word for it that I have no admiration for him at all!

    >>RIRA is a small organisation made up largely of disguntled former IRA members existing in a community with a much larger number of hostile ex colleagues should have made it much easier to constantly track them<<

    I think there are two things here.

    On the one hand, that RIRA emerged from the Provos meant it should have been relatively easy for Army/RUC to move its agents in the Provos into the new organisation. Also, as the IRA desperately wanted – for 100 reasons – the Reals to fail, the Provos could have planted some of their men in the RIRA as moles that could later shop them either to the Provos or straight to the RUC.

    I’m sure both of these in fact happened.

    On the other hand, the RIRA was itself very much at siege within its own community. Remember how after Omagh people in the traditional republican hotbed of Dundalk marched to the homes of leading members and had to be stopped by the Guards from assaulting these leaders. The RIRA knew that it could not expect the tacit support from so many people that the Provos had enjoyed. They very much kept to themselves and kept their mouths shut.

  25. Oh, should have said: They very much kept to themselves and their mouths shut.

    Always wanted to use a zeugma!

  26. ”The RIRA knew that it could not expect the tacit support from so many people that the Provos had enjoyed. They very much kept to themselves and kept their mouths shut.”

    Noel what a crock. lol. If they’d kept to themselves and kept their mouths shut how come they were so easily infiltrated? By Brit intelligence ( Fulton) and Garda SB AND THE FBI??? How come Garda special branch said they took some of the best operators with them and then they became so easily infiltrated. One of the men said to be involved was spotted talking to an agent with white powder all over him and looking for coffe grinders, and the agent recognised it as some sort of residue from the bomb making. This man is now in hiding , and was mentioned in Parliament. If his is the background of their best operatives then God save Ireland! Didn’t you read Black operations?

    http://observer.guardian.co.uk/nireland/story/0,,640271,00.html

    ”I don’t think this is denied by BA intelligence.”

    Isn’t their policy not to deny or confirm anything? Isn’t that what they said during all the outings of agents like Scappatticci?

    ”I’m sure both of these in fact happened.”

    eh? You can be sure all you like – prove it.

    ”They very much kept to themselves and kept their mouths shut.”

    lol thats so funny I only wanted to repeat it.

    David Rupert infiltrated easily enough – lol.

  27. Typhoo, some of your confusion might abate if you realised that keeping to oneself and quiet – if you’ll allow me repeat my zeugma – and infiltration by police/agents are two wholly unrelated things.

    Two other wholly unrelated things are being sure of something and being able to prove it.
    Ask any believer in any religion.

  28. ”Typhoo, some of your confusion might abate if you realised that keeping to oneself and quiet – if you’ll allow me repeat my zeugma – and infiltration by police/agents are two wholly unrelated things.”

    Noel, let me tell you something about ‘secret’ organisations, they’re never very secret, they never keep their mouths shut nor do they keep to themselves. Ask anyone who lives in the north. Firstly they like the power associated with the status of belong to these organisations’. That means they don’t keep to themselves or their mouths shut.

    ”Two other wholly unrelated things are being sure of something and being able to prove it.
    Ask any believer in any religion.”

    We aren’t talking about faith or religion. As the judge said in the summation yesterday, being probably true is not enough of a standard. If you are sure the provos infiltrated the reals thats amounts to conjecture on your part and nothing more. Most likely they didn’t need to infiltrate because they ‘knew’. Due to the fact these people cannot keep their mouths shut.

  29. Tragic. tragic, tragic. The killers will of course walk free. And even if the Real IRA is a splinter group is is a disgrace that they’ve gotten away with this. Absolutely appalling. Absolutely predictible.

  30. It is of course appalling that killers walk free, but this story is a story of police incompetence. Ronnie Flannigan said if anything went wrong with the inquiry he would fall upon a sword. The father of one of the children killed, Victor Barter said he would give him the sword. People are angry that the police could have messed up in such a spectacular fashion.

    To top it all off Ronnie Flannigan was appointed one of Her Majesty’s Inspectors of Constabulary. The families are understandably angry at him.If this had happened on mainland Britain there’d be a huge outcry, but its only northern ireland.

    http://www.nio.gov.uk/secretary-of-state-welcomes-new-appointment-for-sir-ronnie-flanagan/media-detail.htm?newsID=7509

    This really is appalling stuff with very wide ranging consequences. Someone should be held to account and IMO that person, or at least one of the people should be Ronnie Flannigan.

    Today the papers are full of the anguish of the families. 9 years and still no justice.

  31. This is all so dreadful. I have to say I am avoiding most of the news on this. I feel for the families. This must rip their wounds apart.. What an awful time fo year to have to deal with it too.

    I just wish them the best, whatever that can be now.

  32. Like must people who follow international events , I have a general memory of the cowardly vicious pointless murder of the victims of Omagh. I have even walked through the town on a tripto NI, and felt a sense of sadness walking up the main street. What I don’tunderstand is that something of that magnitude could be so screwed up in the investigation.

  33. The low copy DNA technique is now under investigation. This technique was also used to try to convict the McCanns of the murder of their own daughter. I will connect you up with a video of it, (I’ds say it would be very useful for a lawyer to watch Mahons!) Pity this aspect wasn’t taken up by ATW, since this technique has been used 21,000 times in court an dmanhy high profile cases were prosecuted with it.

  34. I know I probably shouldn’t say this, but to hell with it.

    Each time I contemplate the Omagh outrage and its far-reaching consequences, even nine years on, I think of the ongoing tragedy of Iraq. I think about "Omagh" occurring time and time again in Baghdad and elsewhere, so often that we in the West have become inured to it. Yet the survivors, the relatives and friends of those slaughtered almost daily, are hurting, mourning and grief-stricken. Unlike the survivors in Northern Ireland, those unfortunate people have precious little hope of justice.

    I know their skins are brown, that they speak a language few of us understand, that they practise a religion alien to most of us, yet they share with us those human emotions which are universal.

    I think of them this Christmas and I grieve with them. Their loved ones—those nameless (for our media) men, women and children—should not be forgotten by us in the West.

    Apologies for posting off topic.

  35. Dawkins

    "Unlike the survivors in Northern Ireland, those unfortunate people have precious little hope of justice."

    Are you serious?!! and I mean the "unlike".

  36. Aileen,

    First off, my heartfelt sympathy with you and yours. I try to imagine your grief but can’t.

    Second, there is still a little hope of justice for the survivors in Ulster. In Iraq, none.

  37. Dawkins am I reading you right. Are you saying that one is better off being murdered in ulster because then you have a little hope of justice as opposed to none? Are you serious?

    I’ve never heard such an argument put forward before.

  38. Typhoo,

    I’d imagine a murder victim is beyond the reach of justice, being dead. I meant that the survivors of a car bomb outrage in Ulster have a better hope of bringing the culprits to justice than an Iraqi who’s lost a loved one to a similar bombing.

    Not least because the Iraqi bombers tend to blow up their worthless selves when detonating their bombs.

  39. Dawkins

    I think you should step back from that argument. Grief is caused by the pain of loss. It is not alleviated by the killers being jailed however juducious that might be.

  40. I agree with Colm, that is truly absurd. Thank your lucky stars DV is not here – or I do think he’d have something to say about it.

  41. I think Dawkins is being misunderstood here. i think during this season of the Prince of Peace, it’s good to remember those all around the world for whom there’s no room at the inn, esp. the victims of terrorism of whatever stripe.

  42. Charles

    I don’t think Dawkins comment was meant in anything other than a decent humane way but I still think it’s wrong to try to be comparative about different circumstances of mass murder and the very personal experiences of grief.

  43. Well colm, I’ve re-read it and don’t see anything wrong, but I’m not from NI, so I may not be picking up on nuances. Dawkins does give us something to think about though.

  44. Charles,

    Thank you for your understanding. I honestly don’t know why anyone would wish to argue with me about this. I was simply saying we shouldn’t forget any victims of senseless mass murder, be they near or be they distant.

  45. I see 4 more cases are in doubt here after the Omagh trial. According to the Irish news they are:-

    ”Among the cases now in doubt in the north are:

    n Declan McGlinchey who faces explosive charges following the discovery of a bomb in Bellaghy in July 2006

    n Co Tyrone man John Brady, who is awaiting trial for attempting to murder RIR soldier Adrian Lucas in 2002 and possession of an under-car booby trap device. The case against Mr Brady relies heavily on LCN DNA evidence

    n Liam Hannaway from west Belfast awaiting trial in relation to the discovery of ammunition

    n Barry Devine, who is awaiting trial in relation to an incendiary device discovered in Strabane in 2005. ”

  46. Dawkins

    Having re-read your comment I acknowledge I was too harsh. It’s just that the impression I had was that you were implying the surving relatives in N.I. were better off than those in Iraq which I accept you weren’t.

  47. BTW I wasn’t challanging Dawkins point about remebering all victims just the

    "Unlike the survivors in Northern Ireland, those unfortunate people have precious little hope of justice."

    as so many of us have precious little hope of justice.

  48. I have left a reference to a video on low copy number technique and how it contributed to the collapse of the case of Sean Hoey. It’s a lay mans explanation of the forensic technique, and willhave repercussions through out British legal history.

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