Claudy bombing victims’ relatives to continue legal action against Catholic Church

Priest allegedly implicated in 1972 car bombings which killed nine people

The July 1972 attack on the village of Claudy, Co Derry, left nine people dead, including three children. Photograph: PA

The July 1972 attack on the village of Claudy, Co Derry, left nine people dead, including three children. Photograph: PA


Relatives of three victims of the Claudy bombings in 1972 are to continue legal action against the Catholic Church over the atrocity after settling their claims against the police and the Northern Ireland Office (NIO).

Solicitors KRW, representing the families, said on Friday they had been instructed to discontinue legal action against the Police Service of Northern Ireland and the NIO “who both agreed a full and final settlement without an admission of liability.”

“The sum of the settlement is to remain confidential and the PSNI and NIO have agreed to pay the costs of our clients up to the date of this agreement,” the law firm said in a statement.

“The proceedings against the Dioceses of Derry remain unresolved and will proceed to trial.”

The suspected IRA bomb killed nine people in the Co Derry village almost 50 years ago, including two teenagers and an eight-year-old girl.

A Catholic priest, Fr James Chesney, who died in 1980, was allegedly implicated in the car bombings.

Relatives of those killed believed there wasn’t a proper investigation into the attack by the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) at the time and that there was a cover up over the priest’s alleged role.

Families of victims William Watson Temple (16), David Miller (60) and Thomas McClelland (64) took a High Court action in the North against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Derry, the Chief Constable of the PSNI and the NIO.

In a statement, the families said they “are continuing their action against the Diocese of Derry and want to place on the public record their anger and disgust at the attitude of the Church to date regarding the need for these legal proceedings.

“The legal action against the Church will continue and the families look forward to a trial where they will prove their case against the Church. The families cannot further comment on any issues relating to the case against the Church.”

The families also said they were “deeply disappointed in the lack of a proper investigation into the murder of their loved ones by the RUC”.

“However, they would like to place on record a sense of appreciation for the mature attitude displayed by the PSNI and NIO during mediation which assisted their understanding of some serious failings by the state,” the statement said.