Belfast Telegraph

Claudy bomb victim's brother calls for release of files

Appeal: David Temple
Appeal: David Temple
Donna Deeney

By Donna Deeney

A man whose brother was one of nine people killed in the Claudy bombs marked the anniversary of his death by calling for the release of any files on the atrocity.

David Temple was 19 when his brother, William, lost his life in the third of three devastating no-warning bombs in the village on July 31, 1972. The 16-year-old and had just started work for a dairy company.

No organisation has ever claimed responsibility for the atrocity, but it is widely accepted it was carried out by IRA.

Mr Temple said he believed a now deceased Catholic priest called Fr James Chesney was a member of the gang that left the bombs, but his involvement was covered up and with that the chance of justice for those who lost loved ones and those who survived was lost.

He told this newspaper: "When I was around 25 years of age, I spoke to a senior member of the RUC who told me they could have had the investigation into Claudy wrapped up in four days, but their hands were tied.

"He told me that they had to let Fr Chesney drive across the border into Co Donegal and that he was one of their chief suspects.

"The British Government, the Roman Catholic Church and the Irish Government all colluded and said that if Fr Chesney was arrested there would be an upsurge in violence.

"If you look at Ballymurphy, La Mon and Bloody Sunday, they are all out in the open, but Claudy isn't.

"We are looking for answers (that are) 47 years old. We know there are people who know who was behind the Claudy bombs, but it is being covered up.

"I know we will never get people behind bars, but we are as entitled to justice as anyone else.

"I want to see all the information brought out.

"My mother and father went to their graves without ever seeing justice done and I think I could go to my grave still waiting."

James Miller, whose grandfather, David Miller (60), also died in the third bomb, said the families should have answers before the campaign for justice passes to a new generation.

"This has been trans-generational," he added. "We have an open wound in our family that needs to be closed.

"We have been no choice but to take legal action to access information held, we believe, by the Government and the Catholic Church."

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