Omagh retrial to begin in January

The retrial of two men being sued over the Omagh bomb atrocity will not begin until next year.

A civil action brought against Colm Murphy and Seamus Daly has been delayed due to the illness of a defence lawyer.

They are defending an action brought by relatives of some of the 29 people, including a woman pregnant with twins, killed in the 1998 Real IRA attack.

Two other men found responsible in the initial landmark ruling, convicted Real IRA leader Michael McKevitt and fellow dissident republican Liam Campbell, failed to have the findings against them overturned.

Murphy and Daly were ordered to face a retrial after their appeals against being held liable for the bombing were upheld.

The case, which is expected to last six weeks, was supposed to have started last month, but Mr Justice Gillen, who will hear the lawsuit, told lawyers at the High Court in Belfast the trial would begin on January 14th.

It emerged in court today that British and Irish government officials are studying a report into the bombing for any potential public interest immunity issues. Although its findings have not been made public the Omagh Self Help and Support Group say it contains evidence that British and Irish authorities could have prevented the bombing.

As part of their defence, lawyers for Murphy and Daly have launched a legal bid to gain access to the dossier, which was commissioned by the Self-Help and Support Group.

The Omagh families are opposed to disclosure, claiming the report was compiled for a specific purpose and has only been accessed by senior government officials.

A disclosure application will be heard later this month.