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Blair urged to intervene in IRA priest controversy

British Prime Minister Tony Blair is facing demands to investigate claims a top policeman helped shield a Catholic priest accused of being behind one of the IRA's worst atrocities.

It is claimed Fr John Chesney, who is now dead, confessed to organising the bomb attack in Claudy near Derry in Northern Ireland in 1972 (aftermath pictured). Nine people were killed in the IRA triple bombing.

A letter from an unidentified English-based priest said Fr Chesney admitted to him that he organised the attacks. The anonymous priest says he is prepared to reveal himself and co-operate with any investigation.

The letter also alleges that a Senior police officer and a Senior Catholic clergyman helped the priest get a new posting in County Donegal.

The Catholic Church is challenging the claim.

A Statement for the Diocese of Derry says whoever wrote the letter should come forward immediately.

It said it was disappointing a deceased priest had been maligned and said the Church has consistently and vigorously condemned violence, and has never colluded on violence.

Unionists are calling on the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, to order a probe into the claims.

Statement by the Diocese of Derry: Recent media coverage of the involvement of deceased priest of the Derry Diocese in the 1972 Claudy bombing
"The Claudy Day Massacre" - Bloody Monday 31st July 1972 - 9 people dead (loyalist account)

Ireland Online

19 Sep 2002