Northern Ireland

Omagh bomb: Arlene Foster to question PPS director over case collapse

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Media captionArlene Foster said the way the Omagh bomb families were treated is unacceptable

The first minister is to meet the director of public prosecutions over his decision to drop the case against a man accused of the Omagh bomb murders.

The prosecution case against Seamus Daly, 45, from Jonesborough, County Armagh collapsed on Tuesday.

Barra McGrory QC, the head of the Public Prosecution Service (PPS), has written to the victims' families to explain why the charges were withdrawn.

The 1998 bombing was the biggest single atrocity of the Troubles.

Twenty-nine people were killed, as well as two unborn babies.

Justice

First Minister Arlene Foster said the way the families of those who died were treated over the withdrawal of the case against Mr Daly was "unacceptable".

"We want to ask questions about why the [director of public prosecutions] decided not to proceed in terms of this case and we'll be following that up with him," Mrs Foster said.

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Image caption Seamus Daly was released from Maghaberry prison in County Antrim on Tuesday

"We want to ask questions around the conduct of the case, how it was taken forward and how they communicated with the families.

"I just feel that the way in which they were treated is unacceptable.

"There's always hope in terms of finding justice."

Concerns

A spokesperson for Mr McGrory said he had offered to meet the families of victims to discuss the case.

"The director has reiterated his disappointment that the prosecution had to be withdrawn in this case," the spokesperson said.

"Arrangements are being made to meet with [Mrs Foster] in relation to the concerns she expressed."

Michael Gallagher, whose son Aiden died in the bombing, said he would accept Mr McGrory's offer of a meeting.

"We need to understand what went so drastically wrong," Mr Gallagher said.

"We have many questions we would like to ask the director of the PPS."

Liable

Mr Daly met his solicitors in Belfast on Wednesday to discuss appealing a civil prosecution that found him liable for the bombing.

The civil case relied on evidence from a key witness who gave contradictory testimony during preliminary hearings ahead of the planned criminal trial.

It was that inconsistent evidence that led to the collapse of the case against Mr Daly.

Four men were found liable during the civil prosecution that was taken by a number of bereaved relatives.

Mr Daly's legal team has told the BBC there is a possibility that some of the other men may also be in a position to appeal the court's decision.

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