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Tuesday, 24 August 2010

The Claudy Bombing and the Catholic Church

In 1972, three bombs went off, without warning in the Northern Ireland village of Claudy. Nine people died, the youngest eight years old.

It appears that the police suspected - and had evidence for suspecting - that a Roman Catholic priest, Father James Chesney, masterminded the operation, either on his own intitiative or following an IRA decision(the IRA as of today does not accept Claudy as one of its bombings).

The police alerted their superiors, who alerted the Northern Ireland minister in the British government (Willie Whitelaw), who spoke to Cardinal Conway, Roman Catholic primate, who moved Father Chesney across the border into Donegal, where he continued working as a priest until his death in 1980. The police never questioned him.

We have got used to the fact that the Catholic Church moves sex abusers from parish to parish. We understand that the United Kingdom's law enforcement agencies will never move against members of the Catholic hierarchy who have been accessory to covering up for abusing priests.

Now we have to take on board that a UK government - and a Conservative one at that - was happy to see a priest moved on when he probably took the decisions, including handling the explosives, which resulted in nine deaths. Cardinal Conway appears to have had no compunction in co-operating to protect a possible murderer.

I begin to wonder for how long has the Catholic Church been so completely above the law. I suppose the Pope is coming here next month to ensure that things stay that way.

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