By Andrew Bushe
DUBLIN — A native of County Armagh has appeared in the Special Criminal Court in Dublin on charges linked to the Omagh car-bombing last year that killed 29 and injured hundreds of others.
Colm Murphy, 48, with an address at Jordans Corner, Ravensdale, Dundalk, Co. Louth, was charged last Wednesday vwith membership of an illegal organization and conspiracy to cause explosions.
And as the Echo went to press Tuesday afternoon, two men, who were arrested in the Dundalk area, and woman, who was arrested in Dublin, were being questioned in the Omagh investigation headquarters in Monaghan. Two men previously arrested in Louth were released.
Amid tight security, Murphy made a brief appearance in the three-judge no jury court and was remanded in custody to March 18.
It is the first time charges have been brought on either side of the border for the massive car bombing in Omagh last Aug. 15 that killed 29 people. Responsibility for the bombing was claimed by the so-called Real IRA group, which calls itself Oglaigh na hEireann in its statements. It has been observing a truce since the attack.
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Murphy is the first person to face charges directly related to the attack. So far, about 60 people have been arrested and questioned on both sides of the border.
There was no mention of Omagh in court, but a statement by gárdaí the night before his appearance said a man was appearing in the court on a number of charges as part of the ongoing investigation of the bombing.
Murphy was charged that between Aug. 13-16 last year he unlawfully and maliciously conspired in Dundalk, with a person not before the court, to cause an explosion likely to endanger life or cause serious injury to property in the State or elsewhere.
He was also charged with membership of an unlawful organization styling itself Oglaigh na hEireann/the IRA on Aug. 14.
The court was told that when Murphy was arrested and cautioned on the charges, he replied, "Nothing to say."