Omagh bomb: Legal challenge delayed until February 2019
A legal challenge to the government's refusal to hold a public inquiry into the Omagh bombing has been pushed back to 2019.
Michael Gallagher, whose son Aidan died in the attack, is taking legal action against former Northern Ireland Secretary of State Theresa Villiers.
The case was due to be heard at the High Court in Belfast.
Proceedings were adjourned to February 2019 after issues of national security were raised in a closed session.
Acknowledging the delay was "frustrating", Mrs Justice Keegan told victims' relatives it is "a very important case, and it's important to get it right for everybody's sake."
The case centres on claims that intelligence from British security agents, MI5 and RUC officers could have been drawn together to prevent the bombing.
Mr Gallagher launched his legal action after Ms Villiers rejected calls for a public inquiry back in September 2013.
She decided instead that a probe by Police Ombudsman Michael Maguire was the best way to address any outstanding issues surrounding the outrage.
No one has ever been convicted of carrying out the attack.
The latest judicial review proceedings were caught up in arguments over holding partially closed hearings amid fears the disclosure of sensitive material could damage national security.
Following a series of previous adjournments, the judge had listed the case for full hearing this week - a month short of the 20th anniversary of the bombing.
It was expected that emails between FBI spy David Rupert, who infiltrated the Real IRA, and his handlers, would feature in the challenge.
However, legal discussions held in private led to the further postponement.
Omagh bomb timeline
- 15 August 1998 - A large car bomb explodes on a Saturday afternoon in the centre of Omagh, County Tyrone, fatally wounding 29 people.
- 18 August 1998 - The Real IRA claims responsibility for the bomb.
- 6 August 2003 - Alleged founder and leader of the Real IRA Michael McKevitt is found guilty of directing terrorism.
Mr Gallagher and fellow campaigner Stanley McCombe, who lost his wife Ann in the blast, were then allowed into court for confirmation of the outcome.
Outside court Mr McCombe gave a positive reaction.
"I'm happy with the outcome, we know exactly when it's is taking place and the judge is taking a keen interest in it.
"This is going to be a landmark case," he added.