Northern Ireland

Claudy bomb: Families to continue fight for justice

Image caption The aftermath of the Claudy bombings in July 1972

Relatives of Claudy bomb victims have said they will continue their fight for justice after police confirmed they were suspending their investigation.

Nine people were killed when three bombs exploded in the County Londonderry village in July 1972.

On Friday, the PSNI told relatives of the victims their inquiries would not resume unless new information or evidence was received.

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said he is willing to talk to families.

"Several years ago I offered to meet Claudy families and the offer has never been taken up. I renew that offer now," said Mr McGuinness.

One woman injured in the bombing said she still wanted to find out the truth.

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.

Mark Eakin, the brother of Kathryn, said he will "never give up".

"The police are saying they are shutting this down because they have nowhere to go.

"I'm asking now that the police go and look for those who are perverting the course of justice. It's not the end of the road. I'm not giving up."

Priest suspect

Ulster Unionist councillor Mary Hamilton said: "They are hoping, maybe, that we get fed up and forget about it, but to this day I carry the injuries that I had.

"I have shrapnel in both my legs and I suffer every day with it.

"It makes me think, here we are ten miles down the road, Bloody Sunday got so much money spent on them and the people of Claudy are just forgotten about."

Both Protestants and Catholics were killed in the Claudy blasts.

On Sunday, Ulster Unionist assembly member Tom Elliott, who was at Friday's meeting, said the families felt let down by the police.

"It came like a bolt out of the blue to the victims and indeed to me and others who were there as well," Mr Elliott said.

"We didn't see any of that coming, had no hint of it beforehand at all.

"I have to say it has left the victims deeply frustrated and angry - the families do feel very let down."

TUV leader Jim Allister said in a statement it was "astounding and utterly unacceptable that the police investigation has been abandoned".

"Their haste to move on and forget about Claudy is symptomatic of a reluctance to investigate anything capable of disturbing the peace process," he added.

Police have called on anyone who knows anything to come forward.

In 2010, a Northern Ireland police ombudsman's report said detectives had concluded that the late Father James Chesney, who was later moved to the Republic of Ireland, was a suspect.

It said the police, the state and the Catholic Church had covered up Fr Chesney's suspected role in the bombing.

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

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