A cross-community service will be held to mark the anniversary of the Claudy bombing

A special service will be held today to mark the 50th anniversary of Claudy’s bombing.

eople, Catholics and Protestants, were killed and 30 injured when three IRA car bombs exploded in the village of Co Londonderry on July 31, 1972.

Among the victims were Kathryn Eakin, eight, who cleaned the windows of the family grocery store, Patrick Connolly (15) and William Temple, 16.

The adults killed were Artie Hone (38), Joseph McCluskey (39), Elizabeth McElhinney (59), James McClelland (65), Rose McLaughlin (52) and David Miller (60).

Mark Eakin, who was only a few years older than his sister Kathryn, said: “Dad and mum never had the same love of life again. They had their good days and their bad days, but there had more bad days than good ones.

“My mother died in August 2008. She had always blamed herself for Kathryn’s death because she kept us away from Castlerock. Dad died six months later. They were angry with the bomb until their last days. I always wanted answers, but none of us got the answers we needed.

Although the Claudy bombing was carried out by the Provos, the terrorist group has never claimed responsibility and no one has ever been convicted of involvement.

In 2010, a police ombudsman report revealed that a Catholic priest, the late Father James Chesney, had been suspected in Claudy’s attack.

The investigation revealed that the police, the state and the Catholic Church covered up his alleged role in the attack.

It has prompted a number of bereaved families to take legal action against the PSNI and the Northern Ireland office, which last year saw confidential settlements agreed “without admission of liability”.

An intercommunity service will be held at 3pm today in front of a memorial statue in the village which has been erected in honor of those who died.

A publication with the contributions of the families of the victims will also be launched on the day of the anniversary.

Norma P. Rex