Victims’ calls ‘fall on deaf ears’

James Miller, whose grandfather was killed in the Claudy bombings
James Miller, whose grandfather was killed in the Claudy bombings

The grandson of a man killed in the Claudy bombings has said it is “time for victims’ voices to finally be heard”, just days ahead of the 45th anniversary of the atrocity.

Monday marks 45 years since three IRA bombs tore through the small Co Londonderry village, murdering nine people and injuring many others.

Families and friends of the victims will gather together on the anniversary for a special open-air, cross-community service to remember those who lost their lives.

James Miller was not even two-years-old when his grandfather, David Miller, was killed in the attack on July 31, 1972.

Speaking to the News Letter yesterday, Mr Miller said his family has never been the same since that horrific day.

He added: “I was very young at the time so I don’t have very many memories of my grandfather, but I do know he was the life and soul of the party.

“He lived for his children and grandchildren and his murder robbed me and my siblings of the opportunity to grow up with him in our lives.

“He was not even supposed to be in Claudy on the day of the attack. He worked for the council and was normally based outside the village, but on that day he had swapped shifts with someone else.”

Mr Miller told how, when the first bomb exploded, his grandfather had rushed to help the survivors, only to be killed instantly by the third explosion.

David’s death had a profound effect on his family, which is still felt more than four decades on.

“My father Gordon was very close to my grandfather and he still struggles with his loss to this day,” Mr Miller added.

Describing the attack as “the forgotten atrocity” of the Troubles, Mr Miller said victims deserved a full investigation to uncover the truth and bring families some semblance of justice.

No paramilitary group has ever claimed responsibility for the bombings, but it is widely believed that Catholic priest Father James Chesney, and the IRA brigade he was allegedly part of, were behind the attack.

Police suspended their investigation into the bombing in 2013, telling relatives of the victims that their inquiries would not resume unless new information or evidence is received.

Mr Miller said he has now taken up the mantle of his father in seeking justice for the victims and their families.

He added: “My father has been campaigning all his life for justice to be done. But he is old now and his health is failing. He just doesn’t have the fight left in him anymore.

“For so long our calls for a full inquiry have fallen on deaf ears. With the 45th anniversary upon us, now is the time for that to change.”