L’EX VESCOVO DI DERRY DUBITA DELLA COLPEVOLEZZA DI PADRE CHESNEY
L’ex vescovo di Derry, Edward Daly, scende in difesa della memoria di Padre Chesney accusato nel rapporto Claudy, di esser stato leader dell’IRA negli anni ’70 e di essere uno dei responsabili della strage
Il Vescovo Edward Daly, in servizio a Derry dal ’74 all’83, non è affatto convinto di quanto asserito nel rapporto Claudy su quello che fu il ruolo di Padre James Chesney nell’attentato del 31 luglio a Claudy, in cui morirono 9 persone.
L’unica ammissione del prete fu quella di essere un ‘repubblicano verbale’, definizione ben lungi dall’essere il capo operativo della brigata di South Derry dell’IRA.
“Come ho già detto molte volte, ho sempre avuto seri dubbi circa le accuse di lunga data che circondano Padre James Chesney relative all’attentato di Claudy” ha detto Daly.
“E ‘morto 30 anni fa e ora sono pronto a lasciarlo al Signore, il Dio della giustizia.
“Devo ammettere di essere scettico di buona parte della RUC del servizio di intelligence del Special Branch nei primi anni 1970 e le tecniche di interrogatorio e di altri metodi subdoli, con la quale è stato acquisiti alcuni di questi segreti.”
“Padre Chesney con veemenza ha negato davanti a me il coinvolgimento in ogni tipo di attività dell’IRA in due occasioni, nel 1974, non molto tempo dopol’essere stato nominato vescovo di Derry, e di nuovo nel 1977. Egli ha anche negato ogni coinvolgimento anche davanti al mio predecessore, Mons. Neil Farren. ”
La RUC non interrogò e mai arrestò Padre James Chesney e “credo che ciò costituisca un tradimento enorme nei confronti delle vittime” ha dichiarato Daly presupponendo la veridicità delle informazioni contenute nel rapporto.
Altro aspetto dubbio di tutta l’indagine secondo il vescovo Daly, è il ruolo del Cardinale Conway venuto a galla solo nel 2002 con la scoperta di una lettera del Segretario di Stato nella quale si discuteva della necessità di trasferire Chesney nella Repubblica di Irlanda.
“Questo rapporto ora precisa che la partecipazione del cardinale è stato avviato dal Segretario di Stato, su richiesta della polizia”, ha affermato Daly.
“Il Cardinale Conway non ha mai discusso di Padre Chesney con me, né con qualsiasi funzionario di polizia o qualsiasi membro del Nord Office”.
“Durante i miei 20 anni come vescovo di Derry, ho incontrato regolarmente queste persone.”
Nel frattempo il Segretario di Stato Owen Patterson ha dichiarato che per quanto auspicata una nuova inchiesta non potrà essere attuata perchè “non si potrebbe procedere ad alcun interrogatorio (…) tutti i principali protagonisti sono ora morti”.
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Bishop Daly’s ‘doubts’ over Claudy bomb report claims (BBC News Northern Ireland)
Fr James Chesney The report said police believed Fr James Chesney was an IRA leader and was involved in the bombing
The former Bishop of Derry, Edward Daly, has doubts about allegations of Father James Chesney’s involvement in the IRA.
A NI Police Ombudsman report confirmed that detectives in 1972 believed Fr Chesney was its South Derry brigade’s director of operations and was involved in the planning of that year’s Claudy bombings which killed nine people.
Bishop Daly said he had difficulty accepting the police ombudsman’s conclusions.
He said he interviewed the priest about allegations that he was an active member in the IRA in the 1970s and was told that he was only a “verbal republican”.
“As I have stated many times before, I have always had serious doubts about the long-standing allegations surrounding Father James Chesney relating to the Claudy bombing,” he said.
“He died 30 years ago and I am prepared now to leave him to the Lord, the God of justice.
“I have to admit being sceptical of much of the RUC and Special Branch intelligence in the early 1970s and the interrogation techniques and other devious methods by which some such intelligence was acquired.
“Father Chesney vehemently denied involvement in any kind of IRA activity to me on two occasions, in 1974, not long after I was appointed Bishop of Derry, and again in 1977. He also denied such involvement earlier to my predecessor, Bishop Neil Farren.”
Three no-warning bombs exploded in the small County Londonderry village on 31 July 1972.
The Police Ombudsman, Al Hutchinson, found talks between the Catholic Church, the police and the government led to Fr Chesney, who was suspected of involvement in the attack, being moved to the Irish Republic. No action was ever taken against Fr Chesney, who died in 1980.
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.
Bishop Daly said the failure of the RUC to arrest and question Fr Chesney was “beyond understanding”.
“I believe that this constituted a huge betrayal of the victims,” he added.
He said he was not aware of Cardinal Conway’s involvement in the case until it was made known by Sam Kinkaid, then Assistant Chief Constable of the PSNI on 20 December 2002.
“This report now clarifies that the Cardinal’s involvement was initiated by the Secretary of State, at the behest of the police,” Bishop Daly said.
“Cardinal Conway did not at any time discuss Father Chesney with me, nor did any police officer or any member of the Northern Ireland Office.
“During my 20 years as Bishop of Derry, I regularly met such people.”
Bishop Daly said that he had a lengthy meeting with the former Police Ombudsman, Nuala O’Loan, in November 2006 during which he told her her “everything I knew about the case”.
No paramilitary group has ever claimed responsibility for the Claudy bombings, and no-one has been convicted of them.
Edward Daly was Bishop of Derry between 1974 and 1993.