25 Aug 2010

Suspected IRA priest protected after bombings

4:00 pm on 25 August 2010

An official investigation in Northern Ireland has found the British government colluded with the Catholic church to cover up a priest's suspected role in an IRA attack.

Nine people were killed in three bombings in the village of Claudy on 31 July 1972, the BBC reports.

The Police Ombudsman found talks between the Catholic church, police and the government led to a priest suspected of involvement in the attack being moved to the Irish Republic. He died in 1980.

The report says Father James Chesney was suspected of being an IRA member and may have helped plan the bombings.

Ombudsman Al Hutchinson says by acquiescing to the deal between the government and the Church, police "failed those who were murdered, injured or bereaved" in the bombing.

No paramilitary group has ever claimed responsibility for the attack and no-one has been convicted of it.