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#Police Ombudsman

# police-ombudsman - Thursday 14 February, 2019

PSNI 'deeply sorry' for not giving documents relating to 1990s killings to ombudsman

Human error and an archaic IT system are being cited as the reasons for the omission.

# police-ombudsman - Thursday 19 October, 2017

Three of Northern Ireland's top police officers are being investigated

The men deny the allegations.

# police-ombudsman - Wednesday 15 April, 2015

A major investigation has been launched into the murders of 'IRA informers'

The investigation is probing at least 20 murders of people alleged to have been IRA informers.

# police-ombudsman - Tuesday 22 April, 2014

Police dog bites two people during Belfast train station incident

The PSNI made a number of arrests over disorder in two parts of Belfast and at its Central Train Station.

# police-ombudsman - Thursday 21 February, 2013

12 PSNI officers disciplined after their handling of search for missing man

James Fenton was found dead 10 weeks after he went missing, 40 metres from where he had last been seen.

# police-ombudsman - Thursday 17 May, 2012

Police Ombudsman reveals 'items of human tissue' kept in office

The body parts came from victims of incidents investigated by the authority in the North.

# police-ombudsman - Wednesday 28 December, 2011

Man carrying a gun arrested in Belfast shop

The 22-year-old had been acting suspiciously at a business premises on Royal Avenue this afternoon.

# police-ombudsman - Tuesday 6 December, 2011

Investigation into 1991 deaths "deeply flawed" and failed families, says NI police watchdog

Police missed crucial evidence and assumed Trevor Buchanan and Lesley Howell died by suicide, according to Police Ombudsman’s report.

# police-ombudsman - Monday 5 September, 2011

NI Police Ombudsman 'becoming less independent' - report

The Criminal Justice Inspection publishes a report saying the police ombudsman’s office has been undermined by its work in high-profile cases.

# police-ombudsman - Friday 24 June, 2011

Police 'failed victims' families' while investigating Loughinisland massacre

The North’s Police Ombudsman has found serious holes in the investigation of the 1994 loyalist killings, which took place as Ireland played Italy in the USA World Cup.

# police-ombudsman - Thursday 3 March, 2011

The 9 at 9: Thursday

Nine things you need to know by 9am: The news from the Department of Finance is even worse than we thought; an artist’s fingers cut off during a savage attack and everything you need to know to bluff your way through the day’s cricket chat.

# police-ombudsman - Monday 21 February, 2011

Ombudsman’s report critical of investigation into McGurk’s bombing

The Police Ombudsman has said an “investigative bias” led to the wrong parties being accused of perpetrating the atrocity – which resulted in the deaths of 15 people, including two children.

# police-ombudsman - Tuesday 24 August, 2010

THE POLICE OMBUDSMAN of the North has released a report detailing the collusion involved in covering up a priest’s role in a 1972 bombing attack.

Three bombs exploded without warning in Claudy, Co Derry, on 31 July, 1972, killing nine people, including an eight-year-old girl.

Ombudsman Al Hutchinson said today that the RUC, the Catholic Church, and the British government had colluded to prevent Fr James Chesney becoming involved in their investigation into the bombing.

He said a deal had been reached between the church and the authorities to remove Chesney to a parish in the republic of Ireland, compromising the investigation and failing “those who were murdered, injured or bereaved” by the attack.

Main findings

The report can be found in full here.

  • The original papers from the 1972 investigation into the bombings cannot be found, but information provided for the inquest, including witness statements, was available to Hutchinson
  • Phone lines had been damaged in earlier attacks, and two men asked local shop assistants to inform police that there were three bombs in Claudy. By the time the information reached the police, the first bomb had exploded
  • A police document from 1972 said that Fr Chesney had provided an alibi to a man suspected of the bombings, and suggested Fr Chesney was involved himself. However, the Ombudsman found no documentation supporting this
  • Intelligence from August 1972 identified Fr Chesney as the head of the Provisional IRA in South Derry.
  • Police reports from that month alleged Chesney had directed the bombings, and that both he and the man he had provided an alibi for were involved in other terrorist activities
  • A police letter to the Northern Ireland Office asked what could be done to “render harmless a dangerous priest, Father Chesney, who is leading an IRA unit in South Derry”
  • The NIO responded, saying that Cardinal Conway already knew Chesney was a “very bad man” and would see what could be done, possibly transferring him to Donegal
  • An RUC remark on the note that Chesney could be transferred reads: “I would prefer transfer to Tipperary”
  • Conway’s diary entry of 4 February 1973 describes him confronting Chesney, but Chesney denied any involvement in the bombings
  • Conway had no power to remove Chesney; he could only be transferred by the bishop of Derry
  • Chesney was transferred to Raphoe, Co Donegal after an illness in November, 1973

Public appeal

Hutchinson opened an inquiry into the bombings in 2002, after the 30th anniversary of the murders. Shortly after announcing a review of the investigation, the PSNI received a letter signed from a “Father Liam” who claimed Fr Chesney told him he was a member of the IRA and.

He said Chesney’s unit had been ordered to carry out the bombing, and had intended to phone in a warning but found all the telephones out of order.

Despite a public appeal, the author of the letter never came forward. Police doubt it was written by a Catholic priest, and say it contains numerous errors.

An inquest held in September 1973 into the deaths returned an ‘Open Verdict’. No one has ever been charged with offences arising from the bombing.

Hutchinson said he found no evidence of criminal intent by anyone in the Catholic Church or the government.

[caption id="attachment_14722" align="alignnone" width="252" caption="Undated file picture of Father James Chesney."][/caption]

NORTHERN IRELAND’S POLICE Ombudsman is to publish a report today concerning the alleged involvement of a priest in the 1972 Claudy bombing.

Three bombs killed nine people in Claudy, 10 miles from Derry city. Although the IRA never claimed responsibility, they are believed to have been behind the attack.

Joseph McCluskey, 39, Kathryn Eakin, 8, David Miller, 60, James McLelland, 65, William Temple, 16, Elizabeth McElhinney, 59, Rose McLaughlin, 51, Patrick Connolly, 15, and Arthur Hone, 38, were all killed in the blasts.

No one has ever been charged in relation to the bomb attack, which took place just six months after Bloody Sunday.

Ombudsman Al Hutchinson is expected to release substantial new evidence that a priest, Fr James Chesney, was transferred from the area shortly after the murders, and never questioned by police.

His report will include information on the roles played by the RUC, the Catholic Church, and the then-Secretary of State, William Whitelaw.

For years rumours suggested the involvement of Fr James Chesney. He died from cancer in 1980.

This BBC news report shows coverage of the original investigation into the Claudy bombing: