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Former Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams condemned for ‘disrespecting’ Claudy bombing victims by holding book signing event on 50th anniversary of atrocity


Former Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams

Former Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams

Former Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams

Former Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams has been accused of lacking “mindfulness” towards victims of IRA terrorism by holding a book signing event on the 50-year anniversary of the Claudy bombing.

That is the view of Ann Travers, whose 22-year-old sister Mary was shot dead by the IRA and her father Tom left seriously injured during a attack in Belfast on April 8, 1984.

Writing on social media on Sunday, Mr Adams promoted the book signing event, taking place at the Boe Inn in Dromore.

Mr Adams bills his Black Mountain book as a collection of stories of “politics, of family, of love and of friendship” and said Sinn Fein MLA Nicola Brogan was also attending the event.

In a video he posted on Twitter, Mr Adams said: “Well folks it is Gerry Adams here. Just a wee reminder I will be in the Boe Inn in Dromore in the fine county of Tyrone... along with Nicola Brogan discussing my new book Black Mountain.”

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph on Sunday, Ms Travers condemned Mr Adams for “choosing to promote himself” on the poignant date in which nine people, Catholics and Protestants, were killed and 30 injured when three car bombs exploded in the village on July 31, 1972.

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The victims included nine-year-old Kathryn Eakin, who had been cleaning the windows of her family's grocery business, Patrick Connolly (15), and 16-year-old William Temple.

The adults killed were Artie Hone (38), Joseph McCluskey (39), Elizabeth McElhinney (59), James McClelland (65), Rose McLaughlin (52), and David Miller (60).

The attack was blamed on the Provisional IRA, although the group has never claimed responsibility. 

No one has ever been convicted for the attack.

Mr Adams is no longer Sinn Fein president and stood down as a TD in Louth for the party in 2020. He has also always denied being a member of the Provisional IRA.

Ms Travers told this newspaper: “Of all the weekends that Mr Adams chose to promote himself, it was on the day of the 50-year anniversary of Claudy.

“His argument may be that every day is an anniversary, but 50 years passing since the slaughter of nine innocent people, including a nine-year-old girl and 16-year-old boy and also leaving 30 injured, all by the Provisional IRA, is certainly one I would expect every leader, former or otherwise to remember and show some mindfulness around.

“Sadly, since Mr Adams still [in my view] justifies murder by the IRA and treats their victims with contempt, I am not surprised.

“My thoughts are simply with the Claudy families and indeed the Miami Showband families, who are also remembering 47 years since being impacted by loyalist terrorism.”

TUV leader Jim Allister said to choose a date which “so clearly stands out in terms of its savagery” causes additional hurt and offence.

“While Adams cashes in with the Republican faithful, those who lost loved ones at Claudy will be wondering what stories could be written which would result in justice for them and countless other victims,” he added.

On Sunday, survivors and families of those killed in the bombings 50 years ago gathered in the village to mark the date.

SDLP East Londonderry MLA Cara Hunter has said the impact of the Claudy bombing still has a profound impact on the area after 50 years.

She said: "My thoughts are with the families of the victims and all those affected ahead of the 50th anniversary of the Claudy bombing.

"The events of that day have cast a dark shadow over this village that still remains to this day.

"As a result of this bombing multiple families and a community was torn apart and for many the pain is still as real today as it was when this disgraceful act was carried out."

Sinn Fein and Mr Adams have been approached for comment.

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