Catholic priest got away with murder with help from police and government

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Catholic priest got away with murder with help from police and government

Post  ufercoffy on Tue Aug 24, 2010 1:06 pm

Claudy bomb: conspiracy allowed IRA priest to go free

The police, the Catholic Church and the state conspired to cover up a priest's suspected role in one of the worst atrocities of the Northern Ireland Troubles, an investigation has found.
Nine people died in bombings in Claudy, County Londonderry on 31 July 1972.
The NI Police Ombudsman's probe found that high-level talks led to Fr James Chesney, a suspect in the attack, being moved to the Irish Republic.
No action was ever taken against Fr Chesney, who died in 1980.

In 2002, the Ombudsman, Al Hutchinson, began a probe into the original investigation.
His report, published on Tuesday, found that detectives in 1972 had concluded that Fr Chesney was an IRA leader and had been involved in the bombing.
He added that by acquiescing to a deal between the government and the Catholic Church to move Fr Chesney to a parish in the Irish republic, the Royal Ulster Constabulary was guilty of a "collusive act".
He said this had compromised the investigation and the decision "failed those who were murdered, injured or bereaved" in the bombing. Continue reading the main story
Claudy Bombing

He said that if officers involved were still alive, "their actions would have demanded explanation, which would have been the subject of further investigation".
As well as investigating complaints made against the Police Service of NI, the Police Ombudsman also has the authority to look at investigations carried out by their predecessors, the RUC.
'Never arrested'
Mr Hutchinson said some detectives' attempts to pursue Fr Chesney were frustrated ahead of a meeting between Northern Ireland Secretary William Whitelaw and the leader of Ireland's Catholics, Cardinal Conway.
There, it was agreed that the priest would be moved to a parish in Donegal, just over the border in the Irish Republic.
The Ombudsman found that the Chief Constable, Sir Graham Shillington, was made aware of this decision.
Mr Shillington said he would "prefer a move to Tipperary". Tipperary is about 200 miles from the border.
Fr Chesney, who denied involvement in terrorist activities to his superiors, was never arrested.
On Tuesday the head of the Catholic Church in Ireland, Cardinal Sean Brady, said the church was not involved in a cover up over the role of Fr Chesney.Continue reading the main story
Claudy bombings

  • Claudy is a small village, with a mixed Protestant and Catholic population, six miles south-east of Londonderry
  • Nine people were killed in the three blasts, which happened on 31 July 1972
  • No warnings were given by the bombers
  • The IRA never claimed involvement, but were assumed to be behind them
  • Local priest Father James Chesney rumoured to have been a member of the IRA unit responsible
  • He was transferred by the Catholic Church across the border to Co Donegal
  • He died in 1980 without ever being questioned by the police over the atrocity

"The Church was approached by the secretary of state at the instigation of senior members of the RUC," he said.
"Furthermore, the Church subsequently reported back to the secretary of state the outcome of its questioning of Fr Chesney into his alleged activities.
"The actions of Cardinal Conway or any other Church authority did not prevent the possibility of future arrest and questioning of Fr Chesney."
Northern Ireland Secretary Owen Paterson said that the government was "profoundly sorry" that Fr Chesney had not been properly investigated.
Sinn Fein, the political party closely indentified with the IRA, said the deaths in Claudy were "wrong and should not have happened." The party repeated its call for an independent international truth commission.
BBC Ireland correspondent Mark Simpson said that the report lacks any explanation from Cardinal Conway or Mr Whitelaw about how they came to their decision to move Chesney.
"As both are now dead, we can only speculate as to their motives," our correspondent added.
"The most generous theory is that they felt that protecting the priest was the lesser of two evils.
"During that turbulent period in 1972, many believed that Northern Ireland was on the brink of a sectarian civil war. Almost 500 people were killed that year.
"If a priest had been arrested in connection with the Claudy bomb, it could have pushed community relations over the edge."
Both Protestants and Catholics were killed in the blasts.
The youngest victim was eight-year-old Kathryn Eakin who was cleaning the windows of her family's grocery store when the first bomb exploded.
The other people killed were Joseph McCluskey 39, David Miller aged 60, James McClelland 65, William Temple 16, Elizabeth McElhinney 59, Rose McLaughlin aged 51, Patrick Connolly, 15, and 38-year-old Arthur Hone.
Mr Hutchinson said that he accepted some of the decisions taken "must be considered in the context of the time" but added that the conspiracy still amounted to collusion.
"I accept that 1972 was one of the worst years of the Troubles and that the arrest of a priest might well have aggravated the security situation.
"Equally I consider that the police failure to investigate someone they suspected of involvement in acts of terrorism could, in itself, have had serious consequences."
He said he had found no evidence of criminal intent by anyone in the government or the Catholic Church.


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Father Pacheco said he would take his secrets to the grave

Post  Tony Bennett on Tue Aug 24, 2010 11:44 pm

Thank you for posting this story, ufercoffy.

It's timely when the Pope, His Holiness, the Holy Father, the Vicar of Christ on Earth and the holder of many other highly inappropriate titles is being invited here on a State Visit next month, welcomed with open arms as the leader of another State - the Vatican - which is in reality a political organisation first and foremost, not a religious one, and most certainly not Christian.

Consider the record of the Roman Catholic Church:

* Involved in brutal territorial conquests and wars for about half its life, beginning even before the wars against the Cathars and the Albigenses

* Set up and maintained the tortures and killings of the Inquisition

* The Borgias

* Persecuted the Protestant Reformers like Wycliffe, Hus, Luther - then ordered Queen Mary to burn at the stake 284 Protestants, including Archbishop Cranmer, and Bishops Latimer and Ridley

* Exploited the poor and in the process built up the largest land ownership of any organisation in the world

* Sent and paid for the Spanish Armada to attack England, and 17 years later in a failed terrorist attack tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament and kill King James I

* Its priests have perpetrated child sexual abuse on tens of thousands upon tens of thousands of children, not just for the past few decades, but for centuries

* Many of its priests have covertly assisted the IRA, the Provos etc. in their murders and terrorism.

Yet hundreds of thousands of British people will hero-worship this man at gatherings in Birmingham and Glasgow in a months' time.

And one more thing we are forgetting - and it's something that may have a direct relevance to what happened to Madeleine McCann.

Its priests, indeed all its employees, are forbidden under pain of istant dismissal never to disclose any crime confessed in the confessional booth. Even the cruellest of abuses of children, even murder.

Father Pacheco said he would take his secrets to the grave.

Secrets which appeared to touch on the family of two 'devout Catholics'.

Tony Bennett

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