Eames claimed to be in close contact with loyalist terror groups, says file

Lord Robin Eames.
Lord Robin Eames.

Less than a month before Robin Eames became the head of the Church of Ireland, he told an NIO official that he had “close contact” with loyalist terror groups.

The then bishop of Down and Connor met JE McConnell from the NIO’s Political Affairs Division on 20 January 1986, at the height of unionist protests against the Anglo-Irish Agreement.

The following month, the then Bishop Eames would be elected Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland. In Mr McConnell’s note of the meeting, he reported: “The Bishop claims to have close contact with the Protestant paramilitaries and he expressed concern that they may be preparing for more positive action against the Agreement - he did not go any further on this point.” And, referring to rumours that Jim Molyneaux may have been on the cusp of retirement, Bishop Eames reportedly said that “he would have difficulties working with Martin Smyth, should he succeed Mr Molyneaux”.

In 2009, Lord Eames jointly produced a report which was rejected after recommending payments to the families of all those killed in the Troubles — including terrorists.

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