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Bishop Daly on Fr. Chesney link to Claudy atrocity

Derry Journal
27 August 2010

Retired Bishop of Derry, Most Reverend Dr. Edward Daly, says he “just doesn’t know” whether Father James Chesney lied to him when he denied having any involvement in the Claudy bombings

Speaking to the ‘Journal’ following the publication of the Police Ombudsman’s report into the 1972 Co. Derry atrocity, Bishop Daly – who interviewed the priest twice about the issue in the 1970s – said: “I hope he wasn’t involved.”

Dr. Daly revealed how he spoke to Father Chesney in 1974, shortly after he was appointed Bishop, and instructed him to keep his political beliefs to himself.

“I was aware of rumours about his (Father Chesney’s) involvement with the republican movement and his very outspoken sympathy for that,” he said.

“I decided to satisfy my own conscience and find out a bit of background. All I had was gossip and rumour to go on. I interviewed him along with my Vicar General, Monsignor Bernard Kielt, in May or June of 1974. He certainly made no bones about his sympathies with republicanism but he denied absolutely any activity in the movement and was very vehement in his denial. We instructed him we would prefer if he kept his political views to himself.”

Bishop Daly said that, in 1977, he received a photocopy of the front page of a loyalist paramilitary magazine, ‘Combat’, which included a poor quality photograph of Father Chesney, a description of his car and his mother’s address.

The Bishop said Father Chesney believed he was too accessible in his Malin Head parish and asked to be moved.

“He was moved to Sligo for eight months,” said Dr Daly. “He came back to the diocese to Fahan where he did very good work – he was very high profile.”

Dr Daly said that what happened in Claudy in 1972 was a “vile crime.” However, he added that he has always had “serious doubts about the long-standing allegations” surrounding the priest.

‘Leave him to the Lord’

“He died thirty years ago and I am prepared now to leave him to the Lord, the God of justice,” he said.

“On a day like this, the victims and families of the Claudy bombing should be in the forefront of our thoughts.

“I welcome the finding of the Report that ‘the Police Ombudsman found no evidence of any criminal intent on the part of any Church official’

“Most of what’s there has been known already, however there are still areas of it that baffle me.

“The movement of a suspected IRA activist to Donegal in 1972 or 1973 does not make sense to me. If he had been an IRA activist, such a move would have only served to make matters worse at that time and subsequently.

“The failure of the RUC to arrest and question Father Chesney in 1972 or later is beyond understanding, I just can’t understand it. If they had done so, we wouldn’t be here today.

“I think that was a grave injustice to the families.”

The Derry bishop said he was “surprised” that “the police took the road they took” and politicised the issue by bringing it to the then secretary of state William Whitelaw and then Cardinal Conway.

“The head of the Northern Irish state and the chief of police put a problem to the Cardinal. I don’t think the Cardinal should have been put in that position,” he said.

“I would criticise the report from the point of view that it does not really put it in the context of 1972 and the awful time that was. Derry a ‘war zone’

“There were 500 deaths that year, Derry was a war zone, it was dreadful, a complete nightmare. I suppose maybe, the police, William Whitelaw and the Cardinal might have been looking into the abyss, believing that we were on the brink of civil war, and they thought charging a priest might spill things over. I don’t know, I’m still trying to work out why they did what they did it. I’m baffled by it.”

The Bishop said that to his knowledge there was no evidence against Father Chesney – just intelligence

“I have to admit being sceptical of much of the RUC and Special Branch intelligence in the early 1970s and the interrogation techniques and other devious methods by which some such intelligence was acquired,” he said.

“In my twenty years as Bishop, I met every Secretary of State, every Chief constable, quiet a few army officers and hundreds of journalists, not one mentioned Jim Chesney to me.”

Derry Journal
27 August 2010

This is the last known photograph of Fr. Jim Chesney, the Catholic priest alleged to have masterminded the Claudy bomb atrocity.

Just weeks after this picture was taken in December 1979, the Maghera-born priest was dead.

Fr. Chesney (46) was never questioned by police before his sudden death from cancer in March 1980.

December 1979 – the last known photograph of Fr James Chesney.

This new photograph – from the Derry Journal archives – was taken at a sporting event in Inishowen where the priest was based for the last few years of his life.

This week, it was revealed that the police, the Catholic Church and the state conspired to cover up Fr. Chesney’s suspected role in the Claudy bombing – one of the worst atrocities of the Northern Ireland Troubles.

Nine people died in the bombings on July 31, 1972.

The NI Police Ombudsman’s probe found that high-level talks led to Fr Chesney being moved out of the jurisdiction to Co. Donegal.

Al Hutchinson’s report found that detectives in 1972 had concluded that Fr Chesney was an IRA leader and had been involved in the bombing.

He added that, by acquiescing to a deal between the government and the Catholic Church to move Fr Chesney to a parish in the Irish Republic, the RUC was guilty of a “collusive act”.

He said this had compromised the investigation and the decision “failed those who were murdered, injured or bereaved” in the bombing.

Mr Hutchinson said some detectives’ attempts to pursue Fr Chesney were frustrated ahead of a meeting between Northern Ireland Secretary William Whitelaw and the leader of Ireland’s Catholics, Cardinal Conway.

There, it was agreed that the priest would be moved to a parish in Donegal, just over the border in the Irish Republic.

Fr Chesney, who denied involvement in terrorist activities to his superiors, was never arrested.

This week, the retired Bishop of Derry, Dr. Edward Daly, said he had doubts about allegations of Fr. Chesney’s involvement in the IRA.

In an interview with the ‘Journal’, Bishop Daly said he had interviewed the priest in the 1970s and been told he was only a “verbal republican”.

He said: “Father Chesney vehemently denied involvement in any kind of IRA activity to me on two occasions, in 1974, not long after I was appointed Bishop of Derry, and again in 1977. He also denied such involvement earlier to my predecessor, Bishop Neil Farren.”

Meanwhile, yesterday, a former police officer who investigated Fr James Chesney in 1972 says he was prevented from arresting him by senior RUC officers.

The Special Branch detective sergeant said he was within 15 minutes of launching an operation to search Father Chesney’s house. He was told not to proceed, because “the matter was under control”.

Derry Journal
27 August 2010

The family of the taxi driver forced to drive a car bomb to Strand Road police station earlier this month say he could hear the device ticking and feared it would explode as he drove.

A relative of the taxi man says the family are “furious” at claims made by the group behind the attack, Óglaigh na h’Éireann, this week.

The driver was hijacked at gunpoint in Cooke Terrace in the early hours of August 2 and was told to drive to Glenfada Park in the Bogside where the 200lb bomb was loaded into the boot of his car. He was then told to drive it to Strand Road PSNI station and was warned that he would be shot if he didn’t.

A member of Óglaigh na h’Éireann’s so-called army council said this week that its volunteers “accompanied the driver and did not arm the bomb until the last minute.”

However, the driver’s relative has rejected this and says he had to drive for more than a mile on his own with the ticking bomb. “We refute this totally. The claim is a lie. My relative had to travel over a mile on his own with a ticking bomb in the boot of his car, a bomb that caused more damage to local business than it did to the police station, putting at risk local jobs and damaging the local economy in times of recession, never mind the great risk to innocent lives,” the family member said.

The relative also said those who planted the bomb told him to make a claim for shock. “When the bomb was placed in his boot he could hear the device ticking, adding to his fear. He was then instructed by these ‘super-chucks’ to drive the bomb to the police station and was also advised by these ‘caring’ individuals to go to a doctor afterwards, play the victim, go on the sick and claim Disability Living Allowance for his nerves, none of which he has any intention of doing.”

The relatives says the taxi driver wants to return to his work but is afraid to do so. “What he does want is his means of making an honest living returned, his family car, his dignity and self-esteem which have all been robbed off him to massage someone else’s ego, by people who encouraged him to declare himself a victim and claim off the State that they supposedly hate so much.”

The relative says dissident republicans have “nothing to offer.”

“These types of attacks did happen in the past, but in those days we had British soldiers on our streets 24/7 and we lived in a highly militarised and oppressive situation. I can remember up to ten military bases in Derry – now there are none.

“Times have changed, the army has gone, so has all of their apparatus and we don’t want them back under any circumstances. Most of our young people under 20 years-old have never seen a British soldier patrolling our streets and those young people deserve a better future than we had in the past. These people have nothing positive to offer our community and a vast majority of the people of Ireland voted for peace through the democratic process.”

News Letter
26 August 2010

SCEPTICISM over the role of Fr Chesney in the Claudy bombings expressed by retired bishop Dr Edward Daly has been described as a “complete denial”.

One of the bomb survivors, Mary Hamilton, said she “could not comprehend” the comments made by Dr Daly after the release of the Police Ombudsman’s report on Tuesday.

Bishop Daly

“I find it very hard to understand how and why Bishop Daly can say what he has said,” said Mrs Hamilton, an Ulster Unionist councillor. She and her husband had been running the Beaufort Hotel in the village, which was destroyed in the blasts.

“Everyone is entitled to have their say, but it is frustrating to hear that Dr Daly is still doubting the priest was involved, even after yesterday’s report.

“We heard how Cardinal Conway had even described Fr Chesney as a very bad man, but what Dr Daly is saying now totally ignores this and flies in the face of all the evidence which we were presented with on Tuesday.

“It’s a denial of all this evidence.”

In an interview on Tuesday evening, Bishop Daly revealed that he had discussed with Fr Chesney the allegations that the priest was an active member of the IRA in the 1970s.

“As I have stated many times before, I have always had serious doubts about the long-standing allegations surrounding Fr James Chesney relating to the Claudy bombing,” he said.

“He died 30 years ago and I am prepared now to leave him to the Lord, the God of justice.

“I have to admit being sceptical of much of the RUC and Special Branch intelligence in the early 1970s and the interrogation techniques and other devious methods by which some such intelligence was acquired.

“Father Chesney vehemently denied involvement in any kind of IRA activity to me on two occasions, in 1974, not long after I was appointed Bishop of Derry, and again in 1977. He also denied such involvement earlier to my predecessor, Bishop Neil Farren,” he said.

He went on to say that the failure of the RUC to arrest and question Fr Chesney was “a huge betrayal of the victims”.

He said he was not aware of Cardinal Conway’s involvement in the case until it was made known by Sam Kinkaid, then assistant chief constable of the PSNI, in December 2002.

“This report now clarifies that the cardinal’s involvement was initiated by the secretary of state, at the behest of the police.

“Cardinal Conway did not at any time discuss Fr Chesney with me, nor did any police officer or any member of the Northern Ireland Office,” Bishop Daly told the BBC.

Meanwhile, it is expected that the Ulster Unionist Party, of which Mary Hamilton is a member, will officially ask the prime minister David Cameron for an inquiry into the Claudy bombings, after the ombudsman’s report revealed the conspiracy between the police, church and state.

“I don’t know if there will be any more inquiries, but we have to continue our fight for justice,” Mrs Hamilton told the News Letter last night.

News Letter
26 August 2010

A RELATIVE of a Claudy bombing victim has said too much blame was placed on the role of the RUC by the Police Ombudsman’s report released on Tuesday.

Gordon Miller said he was angered at what he termed was the “implied exoneration” of both the government and Catholic church in the report, which highlighted the failure to arrest the terror suspect Fr James Chesney.

The ombudsman, Al Hutchinson, made it clear in the findings that his office could only reach a determination on the actions of the police and not the government or the church.

However, some relatives feel that the police actions cannot be seen in isolation if some officers wanted to arrest Fr Chesney but were prevented from doing so.

“We saw that there were detectives who wanted to pursue Fr Chesney and bring justice to the victims, but because of the state and church, that did not happen,” said Mr Miller, who lost his father David in the second of the three Claudy bombs.

The relatives also feel that while the ombudsman said he was only able to determine on the actions of the police, the report went on to make comments such as the remark that government had a “legitimate interest in resolving a matter of public interest”.

Mr Hutchinson’s report also said that there was “no evidence of any criminal intent” on the part of any government minister. The report similarly found “no evidence of any criminal intent” on the part of any church official.

In comments not included in the report, but made in a press release issued on Tuesday at the launch of the report, Mr Hutchinson added that the morality or ‘rightness’ of the decision taken by the government and the Catholic church in agreeing to the RUC request for assistance was “another matter entirely and requires further public debate”.

But speaking to the News Letter on Tuesday, Mr Miller expressed his “deep anger” at the statements, and said the conspiracy had clearly perverted the course of justice.

“We actually saw the documents on screen that proved the Catholic church and state had been working together to stop any police investigation of Fr Chesney,” said Mr Miller.

“Is interfering with justice – and that is what the government and church clearly did – not a crime now or was it then?”

The ombudsman concluded “that the decision by the RUC not to investigate someone they suspected, was contrary to a fundamental duty of police”.

Mr Miller responded to this conclusion, saying: “I can accept that the police could and should have done more, but the order to stop this investigation into the priest came from the very top of the government in cohorts with the church.”

He added: “The police have been investigated by the ombudsman over Claudy, but who is going to investigate the government and the church?”
His sentiments were echoed by a retired police officer who witnessed the bodies from the Claudy atrocity being taken into a hospital morgue.

Speaking on BBC Radio Ulster yesterday morning, the man who had been a young detective in 1972 said there was a sense of “disillusionment” among detectives, when their efforts to investigate suspects such as Fr Chesney had been “frustrated”.

On Tuesday’s damning report from the ombudsman, the retired officer said: “This was not a decision taken by the RUC in general. This was a decision made way above the investigative team, by senior officers in consultation with government officials and politicians.”

He also said that he did not accept that the decision to cover-up the priest’s role had been for the “greater good” of preventing loyalist violence and murder against Catholic clergy.

The former RUC detective said he had been at the mortuary on the day of the atrocity, waiting for casualties from Operation Motorman to clear blockades in Derry.

It is widely believed that the triple-bomb-attack in Claudy had been a direct response from the IRA to the security operation.

• In a report listing the Claudy victims yesterday, Joseph McCloskey, 38, was described as a Protestant.

In fact, Mr McCloskey was a Catholic. The spelling of his surname was also incorrect. We regret any distress these inaccuracies may have caused.

News Letter
26 August 2010

A MEMORIAL garden for two soldiers murdered by the Real IRA is set to be relocated – as the army finally vacates the site.

The news comes as it is revealed that troops and civilian staff of the 38 Engineering Regiment based at Massereene Barracks in Antrim are next month set to start moving to RAF Aldergrove.

Patrick Azimkar (left) and Mark Quinsey

An army spokesman said: “We are planning to start the move in September. This move has been planned for some time, long before the murders of the sappers last year. At that stage the details of the move still had to be worked out.”

Sappers Mark Quinsey, 23, and Patrick Azimkar, 21, were killed on March 7, 2009, just outside the gates of the barracks as they collected takeaway pizzas. The soldiers were about to embark on a tour of Afghanistan.

Four other people were injured in the shooting.

The army spokesman further revealed: “We have a memorial garden in Palace Barracks in Holywood which reflects all the dead in Northern Ireland over the years. The larger elements of the memorial to the sappers will be going there from Massereene. But also small momentos held at Massereene will go to Aldergrove with 38 Engineering Regiment to be looked after by them.”

The spokesman said because troops were only moving “a few miles up the road” the strong links forged with the town “would not be lost”.
He said: “We’re not cutting the tie with the town, it’s just a slight relocation.
“We’re aiming to start moving in September and we’ve tried to work it so we’re causing as little disturbance as possible.
“Most of the families of 38 Engineering Regiment actually live in Aldergrove. There is single living accommodation at Massereene. The move is a sensible business case judgment to make best use of the sites we have.”

It is hoped that the move will be completed by Christmas, however the barracks will remain open until April 2011.
The army spokesman said once the Massereene site is vacated and “cleansed of all traces of military” it will be handed over to defence estates.
He added: “It is up to them to get rid of the site. There has been a bit of interest in the site which has access straight onto Lough Neagh, is just on the outskirts of the town and is close to the parkland.

“There is a lot of potential there.”

26 August 2010

A former police officer who investigated Fr James Chesney in 1972 has told the BBC he was prevented from arresting him by senior RUC officers.

Fr Chesney, who died in 1980, was named in the Police Ombudsman’s report into the Claudy bombing.

The Special Branch detective sergeant said he was within 15 minutes of launching an operation to search Father Chesney’s house.

The report said police believed Fr James Chesney was an IRA leader and was involved in the bombing

He was told not to proceed, because “the matter was under control”.

Three no-warning bombs exploded in the County Derry village on 31 July 1972.

It later transpired that talks between the Catholic Church, the police and the government led to Fr Chesney being moved to a parish in Donegal.

The Police Ombudsman’s report confirmed that detectives believed Fr Chesney was involved in the bombing which killed nine people.

However, former IRA explosives officer Shane Paul O’Doherty, who was active in the Derry-Donegal area in the early and mid-70s, said he had never heard anyone mention the priest’s name at the time.

Mr O’Doherty, who served 14 years in jail in England for his involvement in a letter-bomb campaign, told the Irish News that “journalists appeared to have mistaken intelligence reports for hard evidence”.

The police officer was interviewed by the ombudsman’s investigative team for its Claudy report, and the ombudsman later wrote to inform him he would be referring to his evidence in his findings.

The ombudsman, Al Hutchinson, found that after talks between the then Catholic Primate Cardinal William Conway, and Secretary of State William Whitelaw, Fr Chesney was moved to a parish in the Irish Republic.

No action was ever taken against Fr Chesney, who detectives believed was the IRA’s ‘director of operations’ in south County Derry.

He died of cancer in 1980 aged 46.

The retired Special Branch officers said the decision to “leave the priest alone” was made at a senior level.

“The time that I asked for his arrest, I had information there was a large amount of firearms in the parochial house.

“I had good sources within the Provisional IRA in south Derry,” he said.

‘Under control’

He said he told his superiors he was going to raid Fr Chesney’s parochial house within 30 minutes unless he was told to do otherwise. He said he had soldiers standing by in Magherafelt police station as back-up for the search and arrest operation.

“They (senior officers) gave me an answer back within 15 minutes that things were under control, not to go.

“I was told, leave it alone, we’re looking after it. Then the next thing I heard was that he was transferred to Malin Head (in Donegal).”

The ex-policeman said he himself was transferred out of the area a few months later after being wounded in an IRA attempt on his life.

He said he had no doubt whatsoever that Fr Chesney was involved because other Special Branch officers had received the same information from other sources.

“All my reports were obviously filed in headquarters and just locked away and now the ombudsman has got them out, discovered them.”

Shane Paul O’Doherty, who cut his links with the IRA while in prison in England, said: “It is extraordinary that the ombudsman’s report into the Claudy bombing pours judgment upon the late Fr Chesney and then asks for witnesses to come forward wtih evidence to support its case.

“Would this be putting the hanging before the trial?”

26 August 2010

A decision on the holding of an inquest into the murder of a Sinn Fein member has been postponed for the fifth time.

The family of informer Denis Donaldson criticised the fact that an inquest had yet to take place more than four years after his death.

Dennis Donaldson. The inquest into Denis Donaldson’s death has now been delayed five times

The family’s solicitor, questioned the claim by Irish police that progress was being made in the murder inquiry.

Counsel for the State, Stephen Byrne, argued the Gardai were dealing with “a very complex investigation”.

Ciaran Shields, the Donaldson family’s solicitor, argued before Coroner Denis McCauley in Letterkenny, County Donegal, that any further adjournment would be unlawful in light of a European court ruling in another case.

Following a challenge by the family of Patrick Shanahan in Northern Ireland, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that any failure to hold an inquest within a four and a half year period was a breach of international and human rights commitments.

The Shanahan family were given a financial reward due to the inquest into his death not being completed.

Coroner McCauley scheduled a “pre-inquest” open meeting for 27 January where the Gardai and the family would exchange documents.

The arrangement of a date for a full hearing would follow.

The scope of the inquest would also be decided next year.

A preliminary inquest into Mr Donaldson’s death opened in November 2007 but was delayed on four occasions as Irish police continued their investigations.

Mr Donaldson was expelled from Sinn Fein in December 2005 after admitting he had been a paid spy.

He then moved from his Belfast home to live alone in a cottage without electricity or running water. No-one has ever been charged with his murder.

The police Historical Enquiries team is in the process of contacting relatives of the nine people killed in the Claudy bombings of 1972.

The HET is offering to meet them and ask if they wish to become involved in a review of the case.

It follows a Police Ombudsman report on the atrocity earlier this week.

Mark Eakin, with his sister Kathryn, who was murdered in the 1972 attack

It said discussions between the RUC, the British Government and the Catholic Church saw a priest who was a suspect in the attack being moved to Donegal.

No action was ever taken against Fr James Chesney.

Although the IRA is widely believed to have carried out the attack it has never admitted it.

Mark Eakin, whose eight-year-old sister Kathryn was murdered in the bombings, said the HET move is a step in the right direction.

“I’m asking anybody involved, I’m asking the government, the church, any of the ex-RUC men that were involved in the original investigations within Claudy to step forward,” he said.

“These (police) files supposedly mysteriously disappeared but there’s still people alive who were involved in compiling those files.

“They can maybe help put some of the pieces of the jigsaw back together again.”

The HET was set up in 2005 to re-examine 3,269 murders committed during the Troubles.

Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective (GARC)
Wednesday August 25, 2010

After a meeting today (Tuesday 24-8-10) of G.A.R.C. Activists, our Collective has agreed to radically oppose this Saturday morning’s unwelcome sectarian Black Preceptory march through our community.

Local residents in the Greater Ardoyne area do not deserve to be hemmed into their homes by huge numbers of heavily-armed and riot-clad PSNI members. To permit sectarian societies and U.V.F. linked bands who insist on parading through their community. They have had enough of Parade Commissioners refusing to take into account their legitimate views.

We urge the Black Preceptory No 210 Redcross branch and the Pride of Ardoyne Flute Band to reroute its march in the interests of everyone and leave local people in peace. If not, the Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective declare that we will make a determined, peaceful but radical effort to block the Crumlin Road and prevent this parade through our community.

>>See GARC blog post online

Official report reveals how prime suspect in 1972 atrocity was protected

By David McKittrick
Wednesday, 25 August 2010

It was on the last day of the worst month of the worst year of the Troubles that three IRA bombs exploded in the village of Claudy, Co Derry.

The carnage was terrible: nine people, including a little girl, were killed, bringing the overall death toll in Northern Ireland for July 1972 alone to almost one hundred. To many, it looked as if the conflict would escalate out of all control.

Yesterday an official report confirmed that the police, the British government and Catholic Church conspired to protect the prime suspect: a Catholic priest. But it also revealed the profound moral and political dilemma which faced all those involved: the arrest of a Catholic clergyman would likely have inflamed an already dire political and security situation, but the failure to apprehend him risked hampering the search for justice for those who were killed.

Within days of the attacks, there was strong intelligence that one of the bombers was Fr James Chesney, the local republican quartermaster and “director of operations.” William Whitelaw, then the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, decided in consultation with the Archbishop of Armagh, Cardinal William Conway, that the priest should not be arrested but instead discreetly transferred across the border into the Republic.

The present Secretary of State, Owen Paterson, said yesterday he was profoundly sorry Fr Chesney “was not properly investigated for his suspected involvement in this hideous crime, and that the victims and their families have been denied justice”. But he added: “I recognise of course that all those involved in combating terrorism at the time were making decisions in exceptionally difficult circumstances and under extreme pressure.”

The Bishop of Derry, Seamus Hegarty said yesterday he was “shocked and ashamed” that a priest would have been associated with the bomb attack, though the church insisted it had not been party to a cover-up.

The Police Ombudsman, Al Hutchinson, reported he had found no evidence of criminal intent by anyone in the government or the church, but added that he had unearthed collusion. He said the decision not to pursue the priest was “wrong and contrary to a fundamental duty of police to investigate those suspected of criminality”.

Mr Whitelaw and Cardinal Conway are both dead but the Ombudsman recovered material from their files and diaries. While their exact thought processes remain unknown, the signs are they quickly agreed that Fr Chesney should be transferred.

There were many ecclesiastical precedents for moving priests – as has been seen in its reactions to various child-abuse scandals. In addition, in the months before Claudy, loyalists had begun to kill Catholics in large numbers. The emergence of an active IRA priest could quite possibly have encouraged them to kill clergy.

From the government’s point of view, the idea a priest was an active terrorist would have made far more difficult its attempts to persuade Catholics and Protestants to co-operate in a new partnership government. Furthermore, the arrest of a priest could have caused uproar, since many Catholics would have found it impossible to believe he could be a bomber.

A sense of the tensions of the time was given in the memoirs of the then Prime Minister, Edward Heath, when he wrote: “I feared that we might for the first time be on the threshold of complete anarchy.”

The Cardinal seems to have been persuaded by a file shown to him by Mr Whitelaw which referred to Fr Chesney’s involvement in Claudy and other acts of terrorism. According to an official document, the Cardinal said “that he knew the priest was a very bad man”. In his diary, the Cardinal described the meeting as a “rather disturbing tête-à-tête”. He also reported that in interviews with churchmen, Fr Chesney had strenuously denied any involvement in the IRA. Some state documentation showed that some individual police officers pushed for him to be arrested, even at the cost of causing a major stir.

One Special Branch detective inspector wrote in a memo: “We would need to be prepared to face unprecedented pressure. Having regard to what this man has done, I myself would be prepared to meet this challenge head-on.” When the Northern Ireland Office wrote to the then Chief Constable, Sir Graham Shillington, saying it was proposed to shift Fr Chesney to Donegal, he went along with the idea, noting: “Seen. I would prefer transfer to Tipperary.” By this he meant he would prefer Fr Chesney to be moved further away from Northern Ireland than Donegal, which is on the border.

Relatives of those killed were unimpressed by yesterday’s report. Mark Eakin, who was blown off his feet in the blast that killed his eight-year-old sister, Kathryn, said he wanted an apology from the Government.

“An apology, yes, but… I would like to see somebody brought to justice for this,” Mr Eakin said. “The families need to know how far up the conspiracy went.” Mr Eakin, a Protestant, added: “I just feel so sorry for some of the Catholic people. I feel they’ve been let down by their church.”

By Gemma Burns
North Belfast News
23rd of August 2010

A loyal order march set to walk past Ardoyne shops next Saturday (28 August) is to be led by a controversial flute band who make sick jokes about the Hunger Strikers on their website and boast about marching past Ardoyne shops every year.

The Royal Black Preceptory has applied to the Parades Commission to march down the Crumlin Road past Ardoyne and onto the Woodvale Road next Saturday, which is known as ‘Black Saturday” because of their parades throughout the North the same day.

The loyal order has requested the use of the Pride Of Ardoyne flute band to lead the parade. On their website the band state they “proudly walk down past the Ardoyne shops each year” and make a number of poor taste jokes about the Hunger Strikers.

>>Read article
Wednesday August 25 2010

Three men have been arrested after a bomb attack in Northern Ireland which injured three children.

The device exploded in a bin in Lurgan, Co Armagh, while police investigated a warning that another bomb had been left at a nearby primary school.

The three children, aged between two and 12, suffered minor injuries on August 14.

Police arrested three men during a search operation in the town on Wednesday. Items were taken away for examination.

Dissident republicans were blamed for planting the bomb which exploded without warning in Lurgan’s North Street.

Derry Journal
24 August 2010

The following is a statement issued by Cardinal Seán Brady, Archbishop of Armagh, and Bishop Séamus Hegarty, Bishop of Derry, in response to the Public Statement of the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland into the RUC Investigation of the Claudy Bombing.

“The bombing in Claudy, on 31 July 1972, was an appalling crime. In reading the Public Statement of the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland, published today, we can never lose sight of the terrible human cost of this atrocity. Nine people died, including children. Many were injured. Many more were rendered homeless or had businesses destroyed or damaged. The entire community of a small rural town was traumatised by a horrific attack on innocent people.

Cardinal Seán Brady, Archbishop of Armagh

“On a day such as this, it is important to recall the pain suffered by thousands of people through bereavement, loss and trauma over the years of the Troubles. However, our focus today is very much on those who suffered in Claudy through the bombing on 31 July 1972. We realise that the publication of the Ombudsman’s Statement today will bring back many painful memories for them and we want to assure them of our prayers and concern at this time.

“We accept the Ombudsman’s findings and conclusions.

“All known material in the possession of the Catholic Church has been made available to the Ombudsman.

“Throughout the Troubles, the Catholic Church, along with other Churches in Northern Ireland, was constant in its condemnation of the evil of violence. It is therefore shocking that a priest should be suspected of involvement in such violence. This case should have been properly investigated and resolved during Father Chesney’s lifetime. If there was sufficient evidence to link him to criminal activity, he should have been arrested and questioned at the earliest opportunity, like anyone else. We agree with the Police Ombudsman that the fact this did not happen failed those who were murdered, injured and bereaved in the bombings.

“We acknowledge the finding of the Police Ombudsman that: ‘With regard to the role of the Catholic Church, when informed of the level of concerns others had about one of their priests, they challenged Fr Chesney about his alleged activities, which he denied. In the course of this enquiry the Police Ombudsman’s investigation found no evidence of any criminal intent on the part of any Church official.’ (6.24)

“The Catholic Church did not engage in a cover-up of this matter. As the Ombudsman finds in his Statement today the Church was approached by the Secretary of State at the instigation of senior members of the RUC. Furthermore, the Church subsequently reported back to the Secretary of State the outcome of its questioning of Fr Chesney into his alleged activities. The actions of Cardinal Conway or any other Church authority did not prevent the possibility of future arrest and questioning of Fr Chesney. As the Ombudsman’s Statement points out, Fr Chesney until the time of his death in 1980, ‘is known to have regularly travelled across the border but was never arrested, questioned nor further investigated by the RUC in connection with the Claudy bombings or other terrorist activity.’ (6.12)

“Fr Chesney is dead and, as a suspect in the Claudy bombing, he is beyond the justice of earthly courts. Clearly a number of people were involved in the planning and carrying out of this terrible atrocity, some of whom may still be alive. Those bereaved and injured deserve to know the truth. We appeal to anyone who has information in relation to this horrific crime to provide it to the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

“It is only with honesty and bravery that we as a community can address these painful issues and do our best to ensure that the dreadful lessons of the past are learned and never repeated.”

24 August 2010

Justice must be served for nine people killed in NI bombings who were “failed” by a cover-up of a priest’s suspected role, victims’ relatives have said.

The 1972 bombings in Claudy were among the worst atrocities of the Troubles.

The Police Ombudsman found talks between the Catholic Church, the police and the government led to a priest suspected of involvement in the attack being moved to the Irish Republic.

No action was ever taken against Father James Chesney, who died in 1980.

Nine people were killed after three no-warning bombs exploded in the small County Londonderry village on 31 July 1972.

Ombudsman’s Report – PDF

No paramilitary group has ever claimed responsibility for the attack, and no-one has been convicted of it.

Police Ombudsman Al Hutchinson’s report confirmed that detectives in 1972 believed that Father Chesney was director of operations for the south Derry IRA and was involved in the planning of the Claudy attack.

However, after discussions between the police, the Northern Ireland Office and the Catholic Church it was decided not to pursue Fr Chesney and he was moved to a parish across the border in County Donegal.

‘Hard to take’

Mark Eakin, whose eight-year-old sister Kathryn was killed in the blast, said he would like to see someone brought before the courts.

“I would like to ask the British government if they would now step in and investigate this thing further, give the PSNI of today, who are still trying to investigate, more resources,” he said.

James Miller, who was two-years-old when his grandfather David was killed in the third bomb, called on the British government and prime minister to disclose more information.

“To be told that after the bomb, he was moved to Donegal and continued his activities – it’s very hard to take on board,” he said.

Northern Ireland Secretary Owen Paterson said the government was “profoundly sorry” that Fr Chesney had not been properly investigated.

The head of the Catholic Church in Ireland, Cardinal Sean Brady, said the church was not involved in a cover-up over the role of Fr Chesney.

Sinn Fein, the political party closely indentified with the IRA, said the deaths in Claudy were “wrong and should not have happened.” The party repeated its call for an independent international truth commission.

The Police Ombudsman’s office, which holds the police to account, began its probe into the original investigation eight years ago.

Al Hutchinson’s report, published on Tuesday, found that by acquiescing to a deal between the government and the Catholic Church to move Fr Chesney to a parish in the Irish Republic, the Royal Ulster Constabulary was guilty of a “collusive act”.

He said this had compromised the investigation and the decision “failed those who were murdered, injured or bereaved” in the bombing.

He said that if officers involved were still alive, “their actions would have demanded explanation, which would have been the subject of further investigation”.

As well as investigating complaints made against the Police Service of Northern Ireland, the Police Ombudsman also has the authority to look at investigations carried out by their predecessors, the RUC.

‘Never arrested’

Mr Hutchinson said some detectives’ attempts to pursue Fr Chesney were frustrated ahead of a meeting between Northern Ireland Secretary William Whitelaw and the leader of Ireland’s Catholics, Cardinal Conway.

During that turbulent period in 1972, many believed that Northern Ireland was on the brink of a sectarian civil war. Almost 500 people were killed that year.

If a priest had been arrested in connection with the Claudy bomb, it could have pushed community relations over the edge.

There, it was agreed that the priest would be moved to a parish in Donegal, just over the border in the Irish Republic.

The Ombudsman found that the chief constable, Sir Graham Shillington, was made aware of this decision.

Mr Shillington said he would “prefer a move to Tipperary”, about 200 miles from the border.

Fr Chesney, who denied involvement in terrorist activities to his superiors, was never arrested.

Cardinal Sean Brady said on Tuesday: “The Church was approached by the secretary of state at the instigation of senior members of the RUC,” he said.

“Furthermore, the Church subsequently reported back to the secretary of state the outcome of its questioning of Fr Chesney into his alleged activities.

“The actions of Cardinal Conway or any other Church authority did not prevent the possibility of future arrest and questioning of Fr Chesney.”

Both Protestants and Catholics were killed in the blasts.

The youngest victim was eight-year-old Kathryn Eakin who was cleaning the windows of her family’s grocery store when the first bomb exploded.

The other people killed were Joseph McCloskey, 39; David Miller, 60; James McClelland, 65; William Temple, 16; Elizabeth McElhinney, 59; Rose McLaughlin, 51; Patrick Connolly, 15; and 38-year-old Arthur Hone.

Mr Hutchinson said that he accepted some of the decisions taken “must be considered in the context of the time” but added that the conspiracy still amounted to collusion.

“I accept that 1972 was one of the worst years of the Troubles and that the arrest of a priest might well have aggravated the security situation.

“Equally I consider that the police failure to investigate someone they suspected of involvement in acts of terrorism could, in itself, have had serious consequences.”

He said he had found no evidence of criminal intent by anyone in the government or the Catholic Church.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland, which replaced the RUC in 2001 following a reform of policing, said the investigation into the Claudy bomb was now under the remit of the Historical Enquiries Team, which investigates unsolved murders from during the Troubles.

Belfast Telegraph
25 August 1917

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. Photo from CAIN

Eight-year-old tomboy Kathryn Eakin was cleaning the window of her parents’ grocery store on Claudy’s main street when the second bomb went off. A single piece of shrapnel entered her brain and killed her.

Her brother, Mark, who travelled from work in Scotland for the launch of the Ombudsman’s report yesterday, still marvels at how unmarked her body was.

“She was gone and she didn’t even look injured. She had one small cut on the side of her head,” he recalled.

Flying metal also struck Patrick Connolly (15) as he stood in a shop on Main Street. He died of his injuries eight days later.

William Temple (16) was delivering milk when he was injured by the first explosion and killed by the third.

Elizabeth McElhinney, a 59-year-old nurse, was killed at a petrol pump outside McElhinney’s pub.

Father-of-seven Joseph McCluskey (39) had taken his four-year-old son to the village to buy a newspaper when he was killed in the first explosion.

Also killed were mother-of-eight Rose McLaughlin, Arthur Hone (38), David Miller (60) and James McClelland (65).

In all, nine people perished in the sleepy village in the Sperrin Mountains that July day in 1972 — five Catholics and four Protestants. To this day, the relatives and survivors have no idea why their mixed community was targeted, and have yet to see anyone brought to justice.

“It is like reading a book for 38 years and discovering the last chapter is missing. We need that last chapter,” said Mark Eakin, the sole survivor of his family.

Yesterday could not have been more different from the memorable day in June when thousands gathered in Derry’s Guildhall Square for the Bloody Sunday Report.

There were no crowds in Claudy, nor was there anything to celebrate.

Many family members slipped away quietly after a meeting with the Ombudsman that lasted almost three hours.

Those who did face the cameras said they now had more questions than answers.

An emotional Mark Eakin insisted there were enough people still alive to ensure that the people of Claudy got justice.

“I lost the only other member of my family, my sister. I lost, I would say, 50pc of my parents because their life was destroyed. We lost our house, our business. I was left standing in what clothes I had on, the rest were blown to pieces.”

Speaking directly to the bombers who were still alive, he insisted it wasn’t too late for Claudy to get the justice it deserved.

“You have one last chance to stand up and be counted. I am asking them, if they have any guilt this is their final chance to clear themselves with God and make a path into heaven. Other than that, just be banished to hell and that is the way I feel about it,” he said.

“Three 250lb car bombs going off in a village of 400 people. It’s half a pound of explosives each. That will do a lot of damage. I was sitting on the bonnet of one of those cars with my father when a man stepped forward and told us to run,” he said.

All those in the Diamond Community Centre in the village had unanswered questions about the priest who had eluded police investigation and continued to cross the border on a regular basis following his transfer to Ireland’s most northerly point of Malin Head.

But in Co Donegal he was being recalled differently. Malin historian John McLaughlin said he would never believe the priest he knew was capable of such an act.

“He was a lovely man and never once discussed politics during his sermons, and that was a very emotive time.

“If anything, he was a shy man who found it difficult to make eye contact with his congregation. But he was a decent man. I cannot believe that he was capable of being involved in something that led to the taking of life for whatever cause,” he said.

And in the village of Fahan where he spent his final years, the priest famously tried to book the Boomtown Rats in a fundraising venture for a youth facility.

By Anita Guidera
Belfast Telegraph
Wednesday, 25 August 2010

A Catholic priest suspected of involvement in a car bomb attack in a Co Derry village in which nine people were killed continued his IRA activities after he had been moved across the Border to Co Donegal, it emerged yesterday.

Despite “significant” police intelligence indicating that Fr James Chesney was responsible for the triple bomb attack in Claudy in July 1972, the priest was never questioned by police on either side of the Border before his death from cancer in 1980 at the age of 46.

Yesterday, senior church figures insisted that the Catholic Church did not cover up the bomb atrocity by moving the rogue priest out of Northern Ireland.

All-Ireland Primate Cardinal Sean Brady said Fr Chesney should have been investigated during his lifetime. He said the church found itself in an “impossible situation”.

“He (Fr Chesney) was at all times amenable to the authorities if they wanted to arrest him,” said Cardinal Brady, adding: “The Catholic Church did not engage in a cover-up.”

The Police Ombudsman’s report, 38 years after the atrocity, revealed that senior police officers conspired with the British government and the church to protect the priest.

Relatives of the victims, which included an eight-year-old girl, reacted in shock to revelations by Ombudsman Al Hutchinson that the priest continued his “IRA activities” in Co Donegal following the attack.

Mr Hutchinson said: “The key point to remember here is that the course of action chosen deprived the families — and Fr Chesney — the right to a rule-of-law process.

“So while intelligence speculated that he was doing certain things, it was never turned into evidence.”

Asked if “certain things” meant IRA activities, he replied: “Absolutely”.

Tracey Deans, a grand-niece of bomb victim James McClelland (65), described the revelation as “an absolute outrage”.

She said: “If he (Fr Chesney) had been arrested and due process had taken place, lives might have been saved. I would like to know how many other people suffered, how many other people died because of him after Claudy.”

Reacting to the report, Northern Ireland Secretary Owen Patterson said the British government was “profoundly sorry” that Fr Chesney had not been properly investigated.

Bereaved relatives are now calling for the 26-page-report to be used as a springboard for a full investigation.

Among the more damning revelations was information that explosive traces had been found in the boot of Fr Chesney’s car when he was stopped at an RUC checkpoint in September 1972.

The priest also provided an alibi for an unnamed member of the IRA whose car had been seen in Claudy earlier on the day of the triple attack.

In one police report, the priest was described as “a high-ranking member of the County Derry brigade of the IRA”.

Fr Chesney was transferred first to east Donegal and later to Malin Head, following secret talks between 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 they had been approached by senior RUC officer, who appeared reluctant to arrest the priest because of fears of inflaming what was already a tense situation.

Speaking yesterday, the former Bishop of Derry, Dr Edward Daly, who interviewed Fr Chesney twice, said the priest had assured him he was not involved in the bombings.

He appealed to people who knew the truth to come forward. The Ombudsman also appealed for new information, saying he believed the church had provided all relevant information about Fr Chesney.

Click here to download full report (pdf 2.45mb)

Belfast Telegraph
Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Click here to download full report (pdf 2.45mb)

Main Street Claudy in August 1972 when three Provisional IRA car bombs exploded without warning, killing 9 local people and injuring many others.

A police investigation into a Catholic priest suspected over the 1972 Claudy bombing was stopped after senior officers conspired with the government and Church to protect him, a Police Ombudsman report revealed today.

Father James Chesney was transferred to a parish in Co Donegal, outside the 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.

Father James Chesney

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.

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

No-one has ever been charged with the murders, which happened on the same day as British troops stormed republican no-go areas Derry in Operation Motorman.

That happened just six months after the Bloody Sunday killings of 13 civilians by soldiers in Londonderry when Martin McGuinness, now the Deputy First Minister at the Northern Ireland Executive, was the IRA’s second-in-command in the city.

Father Chesney, who died in 1980 aged 46, has long been suspected as the IRA man who masterminded the atrocity but today’s damning report by Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman Al Hutchinson also revealed the part played by the RUC in the high-level cover-up.

Mr Hutchinson’s officers examined diaries belonging to Cardinal Conway which confirmed contact with him and Mr Whitelaw over the rogue cleric and correspondence between the RUC, which was led by chief constable Sir Graham Shillington, and the government.

Mr Whitelaw, a minister in Edward Heath’s Conservative government, died in 1999, Cardinal Conway in 1977 and Sir Graham in 2001.

Findings in Mr Hutchinson’s report disclosed:

• Detectives believed Father Chesney was the IRA’s director of operations in south Derry and was a prime suspect in the Claudy attack and other terrorist incidents.
• A detective’s request to arrest the cleric was refused by an assistant chief constable of RUC Special Branch who instead said “matters are in hand”.
• The same senior officer wrote to the government about what action could be taken to “render harmless a dangerous priest” and asked if the matter could be raised with the Church’s hierarchy.
• In December 1972 Mr Whitelaw met Cardinal Conway to discuss the issue. According to a Northern Ireland Office official, “the cardinal said he knew the priest was a very bad man and would see what could be done”. The church leader mentioned “the possibility of transferring him to Donegal…”
• In response to this memo, RUC chief constable Sir Graham noted: “I would prefer a transfer to Tipperary.”
• An entry in Cardinal Conway’s diary on December 5 1972 confirmed a meeting with Mr Whitelaw took place and stated there had been “a rather disturbing tete-a-tete at the end about C”.
• In another diary entry two months later, the cardinal noted that he had discussed the issue with Father Chesney’s superior and that “the superior however had given him orders to stay where he was on sick leave until further notice”.

Click here to download full report (pdf 2.45mb)

Father Chesney was transferred across the Irish border in Co Donegal in late 1973 and never ministered again in Northern Ireland. According to Church records, he denied involvement in the attacks when questioned by his superiors.

But he died seven years later having never faced police interview.

Mr Hutchinson said there was no evidence that the police had information that could have prevented the attack.

However, he said the RUC’s decision to ask the government to resolve the matter with the Church, and then accept the outcome, was wrong.

“The decision failed those who were murdered, injured and bereaved in the bombing,” he said.

“The police officers who were working on the investigation were also undermined.”

Mr Hutchinson said the decisions made must be considered in the context of the time.

“I accept that 1972 was one of the worst years of the Troubles and that the arrest of a priest might well have aggravated the security situation,” he said.

“Equally, I consider that the police failure to investigate someone they suspected of involvement in acts of terrorism could, in itself, have had serious consequences.”

As regards the role of Church and State officials, Mr Hutchinson said his investigation found no evidence of criminal intent on the part of any government minister or official or any official of the Catholic Church.

But he added: “The morality or ‘rightness’ of the decision taken by the government and the Catholic Church in agreeing to the RUC request is another matter entirely and requires further public debate.

“Placing this information in the public domain in a transparent manner enables that debate to take place.”

The Ombudsman said he was confident such an episode would never happen again.

“Rigorous procedural laws, checks and balances, media scrutiny and offices such as that of the Police Ombudsman would ensure that similar actions could not occur without proper accountability,” he said.


The triple car bomb attack that ripped the heart out of the quiet rural village of Claudy has been described as one of the forgotten atrocities of the Northern Ireland Troubles.

Wreckage outside the Beavpont Arms, itself badly damaged, in the village of Claudy, Co Derry

Launched on the same day 12,000 British troops entered republican no-go areas in Belfast and Derry in a bid to regain control, the outrage was not even the lead item on some news bulletins.

As the military operation dubbed Motorman continued 11 miles away in Derry’s bogside, the first device exploded without warning outside McElhinney’s shop and bar on Main Street.

Police believe the bombers attempted to telephone a warning from nearby Dungiven but the lines were down as the result of past bomb damage to the phone exchange.

They then told Dungiven shop owners that three bombs were planted in the village, but the proprietors were also unable to contact the authorities due to the line problems.

One shop owner rushed to Dungiven police station with the warning but it was too late.

Minutes after the first bomb went off, killing three and fatally wounding three others, police officers discovered a second device in a van beside the post office.

They frantically evacuated people towards the Beaufort Hotel, but little did they know that a third bomb had been concealed in another van outside the hotel.

Soon after the second bomb detonated, the third exploded, killing three more.

The IRA denied responsibility for the murders, with the leadership claiming an internal “court of inquiry” indicated that its local unit did not carry it out.

But this account was long doubted, with many believing the republicans were unwilling to own up to an operation they viewed as botched due to the phone warnings not going through.

Rumours soon circulated that young curate Father Jim Chesney was involved. A flamboyant character, he was already suspected of being an IRA sympathiser.

Moved to another parish in Donegal, he died of cancer in 1980 having never been questioned by police.

At the Claudy bomb inquest, a coroner described the outrage as “sheer, unadulterated, cold, calculated, fiendish murder”. Later poet James Simmons described the moment of the attack in his work, Claudy.

“An explosion too loud for your eardrums to bear, and young children squealing like pigs in the square, and all faces chalk-white and streaked with bright red, and the glass and the dust and the terrible dead.”


Nine people were killed in the Claudy bombings. Young and old, five Roman Catholics and four Protestants – the attack did not discriminate.

• Patrick Connolly, 15, Catholic. The teenager died in hospital over a week after being caught up in the first blast outside McElhinney’s pub and shop.
• Kathryn Eakin, 9, Protestant. The young girl was cleaning the windows of the family’s grocery shop on Main Street when the first bomb exploded.
• Arthur Hone, 38, Catholic. The married father of two died a fortnight after the bombing. Two of his uncles – both priests – conducted a requiem mass at the insurance salesman’s funeral.
• Joseph McCloskey, 39, Catholic. The factory worker died instantly when the first bomb detonated.
• Elizabeth McElhinney, 59, Catholic. The owner of the pub and shop where the first car bomb went off was serving petrol from the shop’s pump when she was killed.
• James McClelland, 65, Protestant. The street cleaner was killed by the third and final bomb contained in a mini van.
• Rose McLaughlin, 52, Catholic. The mother of eight and cafe owner died in hospital four days after the outrage.
• David Miller, 60, Protestant. The street cleaner was killed by the third blast.
• William Temple, 16, Protestant. The milkman’s helper from nearby Donemana in Co Tyrone was on his round in the village when the bombs went off.

AUGUST 22, 2010

“Today’s Sunday World carries an exclusive in which I highlight a 1972 Top Secret document showing that the British accepted that G. Adams was a member of the IRA. Basically, I am calling for him to be put on trial for membership just as I am for 1975. Either that or stop scapegoating me”.

“In the Sunday Tribune, Suzanne Breen refers to a claim that one in two members of the IRA senior leadership was an informer. This is in the context of the twentieth anniversary of the killing of two Australians in Holland by an asu that was apparently being protected by the Brits in order to shield agents”.

**Via McClafferty

Amid ongoing community tension, arrests and Court appearances of local residents relating to our Twelfth protest and subsequent riots. The hugely discredited *Parades Commission* has ‘ruled’ on yet another Loyal Order march through the Greater Ardoyne area for this coming Saturday, 28 August.

In its insensitive determination, the Commission claimed it ‘considered the needs of the community and the rights of the individual’. It apparently imposed a number of ‘restrictions’ on the organisers, band and supporters. However, it again failed to determine that local residents do not want sectarian parades through the area.

Instead it has permitted the Black Preceptory No 210 Redcross, another exclusively Protestant and Anti-Catholic, Nationalist and Republican organisation to march through a predominately Catholic, Nationalist and Republican community.

Despite repeated pleas from *Residents, Clergy and Politicians this sectarian society is ‘allowed’ to ‘parade’ through Greater Ardoyne! Local people do not welcome nor want bigots in our area. In response to this inconsiderate determination, the Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective (GARC) will again take to the streets in opposition and ask our protesters to do so in a peaceful and dignified manner.

Bobby Sands mural photo
Ní neart go cur le chéile


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