Eric (alas_a_llama) wrote,

So, a dude, Seamus Daly, is being charged with the Omagh Bombing.

Which is a Big Important Thing. Omagh, which happened in August 1998 is generally considered the worst atrocity committed during the Troubles, and for pretty good reason, to be honest. No other single incident approaches the scale of death and injury that resulted from it.

It was a car bombing in a crowded shopping area that killed 29 people, including a woman pregnant with twins. The youngest victim was eight years old, the oldest sixty-one. Twelve of the victims were under eighteen. Total casualties number 108.

It's also been very difficult to get any kind of justice for it: While Daly isn't protected by the Good Friday Agreement, as RIRA has never declared a ceasefire, and as Omagh took place a few months after the Agreement, the investigation was scuppered by a variety of things.

Firstly, Sinn Fein, and by extension the IRA, refused to cooperate with it based on the involvement of the RUC, despite being the best positioned to acquire and supply information on it. When people were arrested, the only conviction resulting from it - a conspiracy charge carrying a sentence of fourteen years - had to be overturned, as the Gardai were found to have falsified evidence.

The last attempt to convict somebody for it was in 2006, when an electrician, Sean Hoey, was charged. He faced 56 charges, all of which he was found not guilty of. It was remarked shortly afterwards by Sir Hugh Orde, then Chief Constable of the PSNI, that it was unlikely there would be any convictions.

Which leads us to today. Seamus Daly faces 33 charges: If he is convicted of all of them, his maximum potential sentence will be in excess of five-hundred years (a little over two-hundred-and-fifty years if he behaves well, so he could still be out between 'jetpacks become the most common mode of transport' and 'we all merge into a supercomputer gestalt consciousness'), since unlike in the rest of the UK there is no upper limit on how many sentences can be stacked in Northern Ireland.

I am - truly, deeply hoping that he is convicted. I have expressed my support for the soldiers involved in Bloody Sunday being convicted - or at least, the ones who lied during the Savile inquiry - and this is the exact same principle: The Good Friday Agreement is necessary for the peace process, however utterly distasteful I may find it, but those who are not protected by it should face justice, in as many cases as it is possible to gain a conviction.

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