Fermanagh and Omagh District Councillors who had opposed the extradition of the man found civilly liable for the 1998 Omagh Bombing have been called on to explain their decision.

It comes after the Supreme Court in Dublin found Liam Campbell – who was found civilly liable for the bombing – can be extradited to Lithuania in relation to possession of firearms, smuggling and terrorism offences.

A European Arrest Warrant was issued in 2016 which states he allegedly organised the smuggling of weapons in support of “terrorist grouping” the Real IRA between 2006 and 2007.


In 2020, a motion was brought to Fermanagh and Omagh District Council’s Policy and Resources Committee meeting, for the Council to support the campaign to stop Mr. Campbell’s extradition to Lithuania.

While initially supported by many in the Chamber, when the matter came before the full Council for ratification, it was voted back to committee for further discussion and subsequently rejected.

Mr. Campbell had appealed the extradition but it was dismissed by a five-judge Supreme Court bench on Monday.

DUP West Tyrone MLA Tom Buchanan welcomed the ruling, and said: “Despite his repeated attempts to use human rights law to evade justice, Liam Campbell will now face trial.

“Whilst it does not relate to his role in the Omagh bomb, the allegations that he sought to buy large amounts of arms and explosives on behalf of the Real IRA is a hugely significant charge.

“Whilst an initial motion before Fermanagh and Omagh Council was overturned, there still remained six councillors, including four from Sinn Fein who stood alone in support of Liam Campbell.

“Those councillors need to explain their decision, alongside the entire Sinn Fein group on Derry City & Strabane Council who abstained when they had the chance to stand alongside victims and support justice.

“Are those councillors now prepared to accept the ruling of the Irish Supreme Court and accept that Liam Campbell should stand trial for the crimes he is alleged to have committed?”

Independent Councillor Bernice Swift was one of those who opposed Mr. Campbell’s extradition. She slammed the judges’ decision, claiming his human rights will be “violated from the moment he arrives” and he will not receive a fair and proper trial.

She said: “Already some Unionists have attempted, as they have previously done, to politicise what is fundamentally a human rights issue for one individual on a specific extradition case.

‘Dangerous precedent’

“This is a very wrong approach and sets a very dangerous precedent where elected representatives and others are prepared to decide who is, and who isn’t, entitled to human rights.

“Human rights are universal, indefeasible and inalienable and any opinion on this particular case or the person involved does not, and should not, lead to fundamental rejection of the 1948 European Convention of Human Rights by the 47 states who were members of the Council of Europe.”

Councillor Swift continued by saying the extradition is a “human rights tragedy unfolding before our eyes”.

She continued: “All the evidence on Lithuania’s human rights abuses have been documented by Amnesty International and other credible human rights bodies; these are facts and are not disputed by any credible person who understands that everyone is entitled to have their human rights respected.

“I believe that this decision is a breach of Article 3 of the European Convention of Human rights where expelling or extradition in this instance of a person to a place [Lithuania] where they face a real risk of torture, inhuman or degrading treatment is a damming indictment on that court decision.”

Republican Sinn Féin described the decision as “extraordinary”.

A statement from RSF said: “Even the Brits refused to hand [Liam Campbell] over in 2013 when the Belfast Recorder’s Court refused to order his extradition on the basis that he was likely to be held in conditions which would be inhuman and degrading, which is unacceptable for an Irish citizen to be subjected to.

“A 2019 United Nations Committee Against Torture report on Lithuanian prisons expressed serious concerns about the conditions in which prisoners were held across the entire Lithuanian prison system.

“Of concern also is the length of time that the Lithuanian authorities have subjected Liam Campbell to the European Arrest Warrant.”

RSF further said they have always opposed “political extradition of [Irish] citizens to a foreign country and will continue to do so”.

The statement concluded: “What the state has done is against natural justice, but we expect little else from them as regards political cases.”