updated 6/8/2009 11:35:05 AM ET 2009-06-08T15:35:05

Four IRA dissidents were found liable Monday for the worst terrorist attack in Northern Ireland in a landmark civil case brought by the families of the 29 people killed in the Omagh bombing.

Belfast High Court Justice Declan Morgan found Real IRA leader Michael McKevitt liable for the 1998 bombing in the market town of Omagh.

The judge said it was clear McKevitt was a senior figure in the dissident republican group at the time of the bombing and was heavily involved in the procurement of explosives.

Also found liable were Liam Campbell, Colm Murphy and Seamus Daly. A fifth man, Seamus McKenna, was cleared of involvement.

The Real IRA group itself also was found liable.

Morgan awarded more than 1.6 million pounds ($2.5 million) in damages to 12 named relatives who filed the suit.

Victims doubt they'll see money
Victims expressed doubt over whether they would see any of the money, as the defendants aren't thought to have it.

The lawsuit cost an estimated 2 million pounds ($3.2 million) and was partially funded through efforts by the Daily Mail newspaper and former U.S. president Bill Clinton, among others.

No one has been convicted for the bombing in a criminal case. Civil cases have a lower burden of proof.

Stanley McCombe, whose wife died in the bombing, said he was pleased with the verdict.

"It is a result we hoped for but didn't expect. We didn't build our hopes up because we've been let down so many times before," he said.

Dissidents bombed several Northern Ireland towns in 1998 in hopes of undermining public support for the Good Friday peace accord achieved that year.

More on: Omagh

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