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Report shows "bomber" priest protected

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Report shows "bomber" priest protected


The UK government, the police and the Catholic church colluded to protect a priest suspected of involvement in a 1972 bombing in Northern Ireland – according to a new report.

The triple blast in the village of Claudy killed nine people including three children.

An eight-year investigation has confirmed Father James Chesney was a prime suspect.

Police also believed him to be a member of the republican militant movement the IRA.

But after consultation with the state and the church Chesney was not taken in for questioning, just quietly moved to the Irish Republic.

Presenting the report, Al Hutchinson, Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman, said: “They never arrested Father Chesney. They denied, certainly the families, this is about the families, they denied the families justice. They denied Father Chesney the opportunity of proving his guilt or innocence.”

For families of the victims there is still no answer to the question why this happened. The situation in Northern Ireland at the time was extremely tense. Did authorities fear the consequences of accusing a priest of terrorism just months after Bloody Sunday?

The answer may never be known. All the protagonists, including Father Chesney himself, are now dead.

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