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Authorities colluded to protect priest 25.08.10

THE RUC, the Catholic Church and the British government colluded to protect a priest suspected of being involved the 1972 Claudy bombing, a new report has found.
Fr James Chesney was moved to Raphoe and then to the farthest reaches of the Derry diocese - Malin Head - when he came under suspicion.
The Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman report published yesterday said the police decision to seek the assistance of the Catholic hierarchy and the British authorities failed those who were murdered, injured and bereaved in the bombing.
Nine people, both Protestants and Catholics, were killed in three explosions on July 31 1972 in what was one of the worst atrocities of the Troubles.
Ombudsman Al Hutchinson said: "Iin the absence of explanation, the actions of senior RUC officers, in seeking and accepting the (British) government's assistance in dealing with the problem of Fr Chesney's alleged wrong-doing, was by definition, a collusive act'."
A joint statement from Cardinal Sean Brady and Bishop Seamus Hegarty yesterday said: "Fr. Chesney is dead and, as a suspect in the Claudy bombing, he is beyond criminal investigation and the justice of earthly courts.
"Clearly a number of people were involved in the planning and carrying out of this terrible atrocity, some of whom may still be alive. Those bereaved and injured deserve to know the truth. We appeal to anyone who has information in relation to this horrific crime to provide it to the Police Service of Northern Ireland."
Meanwhile, the Church of Ireland diocese of
The late Fr James Chesney
Derry and Raphoe welcomed the publication of a Police Ombudsman's report.
A spokesperson for the diocese said: "The indiscriminate bombings that took the lives of nine people in the quiet village of Claudy were a brutal act. The events of that day brought pain and suffering that cast a long shadow over the lives of many families in the Claudy area." For more on Fr Chesney's time in Inishowen click here.
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