Relatives of the Claudy bomb victims have been heartened at the level of support they have received in their search for justice.
At a meeting with senior PSNI officers last week, families’ representatives were told the criminal investigation into the atrocity had ended until any new evidence emerges.
However, the relatives have initiated a civil court action they hope will lead to a comprehensive disclosure of information.
A spokesman for Justice For Innocent Victims of Terrorism said: “The families are heartened by the feedback that they have received from across the political and civic spheres since developments around civil litigation have been made public. The families wish to make it clear that their motivation is about uncovering the truth of Claudy which they hope may result in new evidence which could lead to a criminal case being furthered.”
Nine innocent civilians were killed when the IRA detonated three bombs in the Londonderry village on July 31, 1972. No one has ever been convicted of the murders.
The civil writs are due to be served on the Derry Diocese of the Catholic Church, the PSNI (formerly the RUC) and the NIO.
Central to the relatives’ claim is evidence from a Police Ombudsman’s report that all three bodies “compromised the investigation” in relation to their actions involving bombing suspect Father James Chesney.
Ulster Unionist MLA Tom Elliott said he fully supports the families. “The fact that the families have to resort to the legal system in this case illustrates the failure of the current mechanisms which are in place to deal with the past. These families deserve the help and support of the entire community,” he said.
TUV leader Jim Allister said: “It is very clear from the findings of the Police Ombudsman’s report that there was a deliberate cover-up involving the state and the Roman Catholic Church ... political expediency was put before justice and this still seems to be the mindset as the PSNI abandons its investigation.”