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Cross-community service to be held to mark anniversary of the Claudy bombing


The scene after the Claudy bombing

The scene after the Claudy bombing

The scene after the Claudy bombing

A special service will be held today to mark the 50th anniversary of the Claudy bombing.

Nine people, Catholics and Protestants, were killed and 30 injured when three IRA car bombs exploded in the Co Londonderry village on July 31, 1972.

The victims included eight-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).

Mark Eakin, who was just a few years older than his sister Kathryn, said: “Dad and mum never had the same love of life again. They had their good days and their bad days, but there were more bad days than good.

“My mother died in August 2008. She had always blamed herself for Kathryn’s death as she had taken us away from Castlerock. Dad died six months later. They were angry about the bomb until their dying days. I have always wanted answers, but none of us got the answers we needed.”

Although the Claudy bombing was carried out by the Provos the terror group has never claimed responsibility and no one has ever been convicted of involvement.

In 2010, a report by the Police Ombudsman found that a Catholic priest, the late Father James Chesney, had been a suspect in the Claudy attack.

The investigation said police, the state and the Catholic Church covered up his suspected role in the bombing.

This prompted legal action by a number of the families of the bereaved against the PSNI and Northern Ireland Office, which last year saw confidential settlements agreed “without an admission of liability”.

A cross-community service will take place at 3pm today at a memorial statue in the village which was erected in honour of those who died.

A publication featuring contributions from the families of the victims will also be launched on the day of the anniversary.

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