07 December 2005

Meet Me Face To Face

Derry Journal

By Joe Doran

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Click to view - Claudy memorial

Tuesday 6th December 2005
A man, whose mother was killed in the Claudy bombing, last night claimed he knows the identity of the people responsible for the atrocity - and has challenged them to meet him face to face. Liam McLaughlin's mother, Rosemary, was one of nine people who died when three IRA car bombs ripped through the village in a no warning attack in 1972.
Mr. McLaughlin, who now lives in America, says the bombers owe his family and the relatives of the other victims an explanation. He was speaking to the "Journal" from his home in Chicago just days after four people, including Sinn Fein MLA, Francie Brolly, were arrested in connection with the bombing but were later released without charge. After his release, Mr. Brolly said that he had nothing to do with the atrocity and had no foreknowledge of what would happen. Mr. McLaughlin, whose mother was 51-years-old when she was killed, said police investigating the bombing agree that without firm evidence no one is ever likely to be convicted.
He says 19 people were involved in the attack and many still live in the Derry and South Derry areas. The others, he says, live outside Northern Ireland. "I just want to sit down face to face with these people, look them in the eye and ask them why.
"I know who they are and I know they deny involvement in it. If they did agree to meet with me I know they would just lie again. "But I want the satisfaction of sitting down with these people and telling them what I know to be fact." Mr. McLaughlin was due to take his first step yesterday in requesting the face to face meeting. He says the reason why nine people, including three children, died was because the bombers were a "crowd of amateurs". He also questioned an alleged cover up by the British Government of the involvement of a Catholic priest in the atrocity. It has been claimed that the late Father Jim Chesney was in charge of the IRA unit which carried out bombing.
Soon after the story emerged, detectives said the government and Church shielded the cleric. The PSNI later announced a senior detective was to lead a new investigation into the attacks.
"The question is why did the British Government do a deal with the Catholic Church that let the bombers walk free. Who are they protecting?," said Liam. He added: "The Government has bent over backwards to appease terrorists. They are getting everything they want and not going to jail for their crimes. "All those responsible need to do is own up and say sorry. That would go a long way to placating everybody. "Every time this issue comes up in the papers its like our loved one has died all over again. It's not nice."

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