Belfast Telegraph

Claudy massacre victim's brother calls for secret files to be released

By Donna Deeney

The brother of an eight-year-old girl killed in the Claudy massacre has demanded that papers held by the Government on the bombings be released.

Mark Aiken's sister Kathryn was one of nine people who lost their lives when three bombs exploded without warning in the Co Derry village in July 1972. No organisation claimed responsibility, but the IRA was blamed.

Papers held by the Government about the Army's Operation Motorman - which took place in Derry's Bogside on the same day as the atrocity - were released last year.

However, any files on Claudy remain under lock and key.

Mr Aiken said people had the same right to know the truth about Claudy, and called for all information held to be passed to the families at once.

His cause is being backed by East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell.

Mr Aiken said: "I am absolutely certain that there was collusion over Claudy and that the Government has information that would lead us to the truth that they are keeping secret. No one can tell me there were not minutes kept of the meeting that took place between William Whitelaw as Secretary of State at the time and Cardinal Conway, so that is one thing that has never been disclosed.

"Two years ago the Attorney General John Larkin suggested the Claudy families could see secret Government papers on Claudy, but only if we agreed to never disclose the details. So that, in my opinion, is solid evidence that papers do exist.

"A few months ago the Government released papers about Operation Motorman, which happened on the same day as the Claudy bombs. You would have thought the Government would have had more reason to keep secret the details of Operation Motorman, which involved soldiers on an operation, than the slaying of nine innocent civilians in a rural village in Claudy.

"The only reason I can figure for keeping the Claudy files from the families is they had prior knowledge of the bombing, but let it happen anyway to protect somebody.

"It has been 44 years, it is time for the families to know the truth because keeping these files closed for another 30 or 40 years will not benefit anyone.

"In that time the people that the truth matters to most will all be dead; it is now we need the truth and I want the Government to include the Claudy papers the next time they release files."

Mr Campbell said: "It is entirely reasonable to assume that minutes or at least notes would have been taken at all meetings with the Secretary of State and unimaginable that no documentation exists.

"It is the very least that the relatives of the victims of the Claudy bombings could expect to have that information.

"There is no longer any argument, if there ever was one in the first place, that the release of information could destabilise the situation in Northern Ireland.

"That might have been acceptable 25 years ago, but no one can seriously suggest that releasing information on Claudy could impact on political stability now.

"So, I would support the Claudy families' quest for the truth."

Belfast Telegraph


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