Northern Ireland

MP asks Catholic Church for files on Claudy bomb

DUP MP Gregory Campbell has challenged the Catholic Church to release any files it has on the alleged role of a priest in the Claudy bombing.

The IRA attack in 1972 claimed the lives of nine people, including a nine-year-old girl.

Shortly afterwards, it emerged that one of the suspects was parish priest Father James Chesney, who died in 1980.

Mr Campbell said he hoped the Catholic Church would be forthcoming if it did have information.

"If they do have some documentation pertaining to the role, if there was a role, of the priest in either the bombing, the planning of it, the knowledge of it, or the movement of the priest afterwards, I think that information should be given to the Historical Enquiries Team," he said.

"The families of the victims of the Claudy massacre should know about that as soon as possible."

Father Chesney was the curate in Cullion, one of the smallest parishes in County Londonderry, near to the village of Desertmartin.

When the allegations of his involvement reached the Catholic Church, he was called in for questioning by the then Bishop of Derry, Neil Farren.

In 2002, Bishop Farren's successor, Edward Daly, told the BBC that Father Chesney had denied any involvement with the IRA "utterly, unequivocally, vehemently".

However, he did tell his superiors that he had "republican sympathies, very strong republican sympathies."

Father Chesney was moved to a parish in County Donegal.

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