Claudy IRA bombing: Families reach settlement with Government and PSNI - but not Roman Catholic Diocese of Derry

Families bereaved in an IRA bomb attack in Claudy in 1972 have reached a settlement with the Government and the police.

Friday, 10th September 2021, 1:21 pm
Updated Friday, 10th September 2021, 1:39 pm

Nine people, including a young girl, were killed and 30 injured when three car bombs exploded in the quiet Co Londonderry village in July 1972.

Three of their families took High Court action against the Northern Ireland Office (NIO), the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Derry.

David Temple’s bother William Watson Temple, 16, James Miller’s grandfather David Miller, 60, and Colin McClelland and Tracy Deans’ uncle Thomas McClelland, 64, were among the nine killed.

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The main street in Claudy after the 1972 IRA bomb which left nine people dead and 30 injured. Photo: Belfast Telegraph/PA Wire

Their law firm KRW Law said settlement has been reached with the NIO and the PSNI, but the legal action continues against the diocese.

The firm said the NIO and PSNI “both agreed a full and final settlement without an admission of liability”.

The sum of the settlement has not been disclosed.

The legal action came after a Police Ombudman’s report in 2010 found that a catholic priest, the late Father James Chesney, was a suspect.

The 1972 IRA attack in the Co. Londonderry village killed civilians from both sides of the community with eight-year-old Kathryn Eakin, who was cleaning the windows of her family's grocery store, being the youngest. Pictured is the memorial statue in the centre of Claudy village. Photo: Press Eye.

The report said police, the state and the Catholic Church covered up his suspected role in the bombing.

Father James Chesney was transferred to a parish in Co Donegal, outside Northern Ireland jurisdiction, following secret talks between the then secretary of state William Whitelaw and the head of the Catholic Church in Ireland, Cardinal William Conway.

The two men discussed the scandal after being approached by a senior Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officer as the police were apparently reluctant to arrest the cleric for fear of inflaming the security situation.

Following the publication of the report in 2010, then-secretary of state Owen Paterson said that the Government was “profoundly sorry” that the victims of the 1972 Claudy bombing and their families had been denied justice.

A short commemorative event at the Claudy bomb memorial site in the village on July 31 2021 on the anniversary of the 1972 Provisional IRA bomb there.

In a statement, the Temple, Miller and McClelland families said they look forward to a trial against the Church over the matter.

They added they were “deeply disappointed in the lack of a proper investigation into the murder of their loved ones by the RUC”.

However, they would “like to place on record a sense of appreciation for the mature attitude displayed by the PSNI and NIO during mediation which assisted their understanding of some serious failings by the state”.

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