While the state has been willing at least to say sorry for the events after the Claudy bombing others implicated have not been so forthcoming while the PIRA persists in its denial of being responsible for the murders. The NIO note (Note pdf file) of the 1972 meeting at which Father James Chesney's activities were discussed states the Cardinal's view of Chesney was that:
"...he was a very bad man and would see what could be done."
The Cardinals' description of the meeting talks of:
"...rather disturbing tete-a-tete at the end about C".
Yet in 2002 when an anonymous letter about Chesney appeared Catholic Church spokespeople dismissed it as:
"...the latest scurrilous attempt to ruin his reputation."
While Bishop Seamus Hegarty said:
"It is a matter of public record that Father Chesney was a priest of good standing in the Diocese of Derry."
Today Bishop Hegarty talked about his shock and shame but responded to criticsm of the Church with this non-question.
"But the real question to be asked is - how is it that the police who had a lot of intelligence and who were well informed of what was going on, how is it that they did not arrest him and question him?"
The question has been asked and answered. The Police Ombudsman has just produced a 26 page report detailing that Chesney was not arrested because of a deal between the Catholic Church and State. He also argued that:
"It was not for the Church to pry into what was a criminal matter. We did not have the competence to do so."
Yet according to the Cardinal's statement they did just that:
"As the Ombudsman finds in his statement today the Church was approached by the secretary of state at the instigation of senior members of the RUC.
Father ChesneyFurthermore, the Church subsequently reported back to the secretary of state the outcome of its questioning of Fr Chesney into his alleged activities. "