Irish Republican News · August 30, 2010
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Media piles blame on Claudy ‘fall guy’

A leading figure in the Catholic Church has blasted the establishment media for its failure to question the British line on the 1972 Claudy bomb attack.


A report last week said that the church was involved with the British government and Crown forces to move Fr James Chesney following the attack.

British sources claimed the priest was a senior IRA figure and the main instigator behind the devastating mission, in which nine civilians died.

It was also claimed that the Catholic church had actively conspired with the British government to limit the political fallout over the attack.

Chesney was mysteriously never even questioned regarding the bomb or any of his reputed IRA activities. He died in 1980.

Fr Tim Bartlett said too much focus on the church’s involvement was “dancing on the head of a pin”.

He said that those who knew the truth of what happened needed to come forward for the sake of the victims’ families.

A report by the Police Ombudsman last week said that RUC members who wanted to question Fr Chesney were told by an Assistant Chief Constable that “matters are in hand”.

Fr Bartlett said that decision should be the subject of more scrutiny.

“We have had one of the Special Branch officers who was involved in the investigation tell us that he was 25 minutes away from searching Chesney’s house,” Fr Bartlett added.

“He told us that information came from sensitive sources. Who are those sources? Why are journalists not pursuing that for the sake of the families?”

Mr Hutchinson, who has the authority to probe the RUC’s investigation, said the PSNI had been guilty of “collusion” with the church and the government.

The former Bishop of Derry, Edward Daly, has also cast doubt on the allegations that Fr Chesney was involved in the bombings.

He said that he interviewed the priest in the years after the attack and been told that he was only a “verbal republican”.

Others have said that while Chesney had some peripheral involvement with the IRA, he may have become a convenient scapegoat for the British authorities.

Former IRA chief of staff Ruairi O Bradaigh said the priest had denied involvement in Claudy to him.

“Fr Chesney approached me in 1979 in Sligo after I’d addressed a H-Block rally. He said there were rumours that he was involved in Claudy but he had nothing to do with it and was on holiday in Donegal at the time of the bombing.”

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