New investigation into Claudy bombing

 

A PSNI senior detective is to head up a fresh investigation into one of Northern Ireland's worst terrorist atrocities.

Claims that a Catholic priest masterminded the IRA's 1972 village bombing of Claudy, near Derry which left nine people dead will also be investigated as part of Chief Inspector Mr Pat Steele's inquiry.

Police confirmed his appointment today after Democratic Unionist Party leader Reverend Ian Paisley met Chief Constable Hugh Orde to discuss the allegations that a priest was in charge of the IRA unit involved.

It has been claimed the priest broke down and confessed his part in the bombing to another priest shortly after the car bomb attack in which six adults and three children were killed. He died of cancer in 1980.

The authenticity of a letter purporting to have been written by a priest in which the allegations were made has been challenged by the Catholic Church.

The Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman Ms Nuala O'Loan has urged the priest to come forward.

Dr Paisley said he asked the Chief Constable to have his officers question Mr Martin McGuinness who has admitted being second in command of the Derry IRA on Bloody Sunday, six months earlier.

PA