45 years on and justice still denied to Claudy families

Monday 31st July 2017 marks the 40th Anniversary since three PIRA bombs ravaged the small rural community of Claudy, murdering 9 innocents from across the community and injuring many others.

On the 45th Anniversary families and friends will gather together to remember loved ones and to reflect upon 45 years of justice and truth denied.

One of the families impacted by terrorism was the Temple family from Donemana, County Tyrone. 16-year-old William was a milkman’s helper and his round included the village. He had been injured by the first explosion, but was killed instantly in the third.

Ahead of Monday’s Anniversary Wiliam’s brother David Temple shares his thoughts: “45 years is more than half a lifetime for most people and many who have not been impacted by terrorism will often say, it’s time those people moved on, it’s so long ago. For me, my family and other families impacted by terrorism, the day we lost our loved one is as fresh today as it was in the immediate aftermath”.

“When Martin McGuinness died earlier this year and went to his grave refusing to provide any accountability around Claudy, many fear whether the truth will ever be known”.

“The families of Claudy come from across the community – Protestant and Roman Catholic, our tears are the same and our pain is no different. It is so important for my family that we are able to join together with others on Monday night to collectively remember our loved ones and give thanks for their lives”.

Turning to what David continues to seek as resolution, he added: “The Claudy families have been treated with contempt down the years; we simply have not factored in the priorities of those who should be there to do what is right by us. We received a totally inadequate HET review of the atrocity and we came out the other side of that process with more questions than answers”.

“My family and I know others feel likewise want Claudy to be given the focus and priority that it never has been, we want a proper investigation which has a starting point of going to and uncovering the truth of what happened, I want those who carried out the bombings to be held publicly accountable for their actions. The Historical Investigations Unit (if it is ever legislated for) must re-examine Claudy, we will not accept the crumbs under the table any longer”.

“45 years may have passed but justice must yet be done otherwise fillings of injustice will continue down the generations of my family and others,” concluded Mr Donaldson.

Meanwhile Kenny Donaldson, Director of Services at Lisnaskea-based South East Fermanagh Foundation which has supported a number of the Claudy families over the years and which is assisting the families with arrangements for the 45th Anniversary stated:

“Claudy is one of those horrific atrocities of ‘The Troubles’ which has gone unresolved, Martin McGuinness and others have gone to their graves denying answers to the families of the Claudy innocents, but there are others who continue to hold information concerning that day or barbarity who have the power to ease the pain and suffering of those they so grievously wronged”.

“We are working with the main Churches across the community, families and others in trying to coordinate events on Monday night – we seek to honour the memory and legacy of those who were stolen away. It is so important that the full community come along to Claudy on Monday night @ 7.30pm, Claudy is not about politics, it is not about religion, it is remembering those who should not have had their lives taken from them and it is about showing solidarity and support for those left behind,” concluded Mr Donaldson.

Notes to Editors:

  1. A Community Service of Remembrance and Thanksgiving will be held on Monday 31st July 2017 @ 7.30pm within the car park which houses the Memorial to the Claudy Bomb victims.
  2. Fr O’Kane (Roman Catholic) Rev McBeth (Presbyterian) and Rev Dinsmore (CoI) will facilitate the Service with the involvement of family representatives.
  3. There will be a performance from SEFF’s Youth choir (comprised of young people whose Grandfathers and other relatives were murdered through terrorism)
  4. Refreshments sponsored by SEFF will take place in Upper Cumberland Presbyterian Church Hall afterwards where there will be a display of Memorial Quilts recognising those murdered in ‘The Troubles.’ The Claudy atrocity is represented within these Memorial Quilts produced by Fermanagh and South Armagh-based groups.
  5. Circa 120-150 are likely to be in attendance with confirmations from: Gregory Campbell, MP, Gary Middleton, MLA, UUP representatives, SDLP politicians (hopefully including Colum Eastwood) Margaret Bateson (Chief Executive of the Victims and Survivors Service) etc.