03 June 2005

Belfast Telegraph

Claudy bombing arrests expected
Police poised to act in wake of 1972 atrocity

By Clare Weir
02 June 2005

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Click to view - 'Memorial to those who were killed in Claudy, County Derry, on Monday 31 July 1972. The Irish Republican Army (IRA) exploded three bombs killing 9 civilians. The bronze figure is the centre part of the memorial which includes a number of plaques.' From: CAIN

Detectives probing the Claudy bomb massacre that left nine dead in 1972, including three children, are poised to make arrests, it was claimed today.

Ahead of a meeting of the Policing Board in Londonderry today, a prominent member said police would soon make arrests in connection with the atrocity that rocked the Co Londonderry town.

At a public meeting in the City Hotel this afternoon, Chief Constable Hugh Orde was due to face questions on the progress of the investigation, which was re-launched in December 2003.

Policing Board member and DUP Assemblyman, William Hay, says he has been led to believe that arrests will take place in the near future.

He said he would press the Chief Constable for an update on the inquiry today and has tabled a question for this afternoon's meeting.

"This inquiry is very welcome but it has been some time since we have heard any news," he said.

"My knowledge is that there are going to be arrests.

"The families have been waiting for a long time to find out the truth and I will be asking Hugh Orde what the latest news is.

"This issue needs to be kept in the public domain. We need to see arrests and we need to see people charged."

A police spokesman would not be drawn on the possibility of arrests but did confirm that a question on the Claudy bomb had been tabled for today's meeting.

The Chief Constable was unavailable for comment.

The murders have always been blamed on the IRA - which has consistently denied the accusations.

There have also been claims that Catholic priest Fr James Chesney masterminded the three no-warning bombings and led the republican team responsible.

In a shocking development, it was revealed by police that both former Secretary of State William Whitelaw and the then Bishop of Derry were aware of the claims about the clergyman, who died in 1980.

In addition, an anonymous letter - the authenticity of which has never been proven - was sent to a Derry journalist and UUP councillor and survivor of the attack, Mary Hamilton.

In it, a man calling himself Fr Liam claimed that Fr Chesney broke down and confessed his part in the bombing shortly after the car bomb attack.

While Assistant Chief Constable Sam Kincaid initially led the inquiry, the investigation has now been taken over by Detective Inspector Robbie Paul and no significant announcement has been made in recent times.

Nine people were killed in the double bombing.

They were Kathryn Eakin (9), Joseph McCluskey, David Miller, James McClelland, William Temple, Elizabeth McElhinney, Rose McLaughlin, Patrick Connolly and Arthur Hone. William Temple was 16.


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