Martin Mc Guinness in conversation with me when he confirmed for the first time his meeting with Fr James Chesney whose name was linked to the Claudy bombing.

This is the full text of my questioning of Martin Mc Guinness about Fr James Chesney.

“I know there are a lot of questions about what happened at Claudy. People have raised a lot of questions about Fr Chesney.

“I never met with Fr Chesney at the time of the bombings of Claudy. I never knew Fr Chesney. He was 17/18 years older than myself. In fact I never heard of Fr Chesney until many many years after the Claudy bombings when ever his name started to come into the media.”

EM: In the Bloody Sunday inquiry it was acknowledged by you that you were the second in charge of the IRA in your city at that time. Are you categorically saying at no point did you ever meet this man Fr Chesney and at no point had you any familiarity, knowledge or otherwise in the ether or in the air at any point of his alleged connection with the IRA?

“I think it is very important to stress what you just said this alleged connection.

“At the time of Bloody Sunday the Derry city brigade of the IRA was made up of the Bogside, the Brandywell, the Creggan, Gobnascale and the Shantallow area.

“So I think everybody knows, including the Ombudsman’s report that has come out, no suggestion has been made that the Derry City brigade of the IRA were involved in any way in what happened at Claudy.”

EM: So let’s clean this up and clarify. Are you categorically saying at no point did you ever meet Fr Chesney, at no point around the time of Claudy had you any familiarity with the name of Fr Chesney allegedly linked, membership whatever of the IRA?

“I knew absolutely nothing about Fr Chesney whatsoever before during or for many years after the Claudy bombing.

“I will go on to say that as the years progressed I did become familiar with his name. Whenever he was dying with a very serious illness I was asked would I go to meet with him in Donegal.”

EM: Why were you asked?

“I was asked because I was a senior republican by that stage that he had asked actually would I come to see him.”

EM: Isn’t that remarkable that he should ask to see you?

“I think you should let me finish what I am saying and then you can put whatever questions you want to put to me.

“I did go to see him. I knew absolutely nothing about any connection with Claudy or even at that stage any allegations against him.
I wasn’t aware of it. There was no discussion during the course of our very short conversation which lasted maybe twenty five minutes. It never came up. What was clear as a result of the con versation was that he was very supportive of the Republican cause.

It came as a huge surprise to me that these allegations were going to be levelled against him.

” I do believe that Bishop Daly hit the nail on the head whenever he said that people should be very cautious and careful where these allegations emanated from.”
Eamonn Mallie

  • DC

    Two men talking hot air.

    The end.

  • Oracle

    You asked one question twice and got fobbed off and another question twice again getting fobbed off and that was it.
    Hardly worth posting to be fair there’s nothing new here Eamon

  • HeinzGuderian

    “I never met with Fr Chesney at the time of the bombings of Claudy. I never knew Fr Chesney. He was 17/18 years older than myself. In fact I never heard of Fr Chesney until many many years after the Claudy bombings when ever his name started to come into the media.”

    “I did go to see him.I knew absolutely nothing about any connection with Claudy,or even at that stage any allegations against him.”

    Eamonn…..’Ermmm,hold on a minute here Muddled Boy………….so what the fuck was his name in the media for,when you first heard about him ? Opening a Hunger Strike Commemorative Chippy’ ????

    Ayeee,Muddled,pull the other one. It plays ‘Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life’ !!!!!

  • iluvni

    Is that it?
    As ‘brutal’ as the Robinson interview.

    Just like that ‘Media v MLAs’ football match the other day. All good mates together.
    Too cosy by far.

  • Twenty five minutes is quite a long time for a conversation with a complete stranger. The drip, drip of admission, raises more questions than it answers.

  • RealityCheck

    I did not know Marty specialised in giving compassionate talks to dying priests in Donegal. Does he really expect us to believe that he drove all this way to talk to a man who he does not know or ever heard about? Does he really expect us to believe that Fr Genocide simply wanted to meet an unknown Republican from over the border just to express his admiration for a UI on his deathbed?

    Mallie showed either he is either incompetent or too fearful in his questioning here – Paxman he is not!!

  • Alan maskey

    Good try eamonn. As they say in gaeil, take the points and the goals will come.

  • alley cat

    Did Marty let it slip to Eamonn first?
    Oh dear Eamonn must not have been given due
    Recognition!! But Eamonn is trying to rectify that now.
    Hail Eamonn

  • iluvni – At some point go and interview a politician. They’re not human punchbags who’ll remain standing there while you hit them with allegations and repeat questions. Too many awkward questions and you’ll get no answers … and nothing to report at all, and no chance of ever going back to ask more. So like much of life, it’s a balance.

  • Big Maggie

    RealityCheck,

    “Fr Genocide”

    WTF?!

    Someone needs to do a reality check.

  • A.N.Other

    In the interests of balance, you forgot to ask him whether he beat his wife.

  • marlaghman

    drip, drip, drip, …………………..

  • Cynic

    So now we know.

    Any republican who is dying just needs to make a call and Martin will attend the death bed to thank them and wish them bon voyage. They don’t need to have done anything for the cause. He may never have heard of them before.

    He may even bring them absolution for all the things they never did or a pack of metaphysical sandwiches to help them on the journey they are about to undertake.

    And they can then die happy, having been realised their ambition and been visited by a British Minister working in a British Regional Government in the United Kingdom with that status guaranteed by constitutional changes in both the UK and Ireland.

  • Rory Carr

    When we cut through all waffle the issue really is the attempt from some quarters to lay some measure of blame for the Claudy bombings at the door of Martin McGuinness. Clearly these attempts have failed and now we have the cries of frustration from those who wished that he could have been blamed and who will blame him regardless.

    Such unfortunates will always be with us, we must not blame them but rather try to understand the limitations of their poverty of reasoning.

  • Oracle

    Actually Rory no one is trying to lay blame at the door of MMcG they are laying the blame at the door of the IRA which MMcG was a commander okay!

    Now stop trying to distract from the issues surrounding this case the people of Claudy have a right to know END OFF……

  • billy

    The Slugger obsession with the Shinners continues apace.

    Getting almost sad now.

  • If you need a break for SF, standby for some Basil and Tom UUP leadership action over the next couple of days!

  • slappymcgroundout

    “Someone needs to do a reality check.”

    He isn’t alone.

    And ever notice how those on the one side of the fence who speak to genocide never ever reference the Reavey and O’Dowd killings as genocide? Call it their singular gross hypocrisy.

  • JJ malloy

    There is no proof of Father Chesney’s involvement.

  • slug

    Alan – were you the one who asked Gerry Adams whether he was in the IRA (or close to that). That was brave of you. (Obviously he was-for instance he carried out the Bloody Friday bombings that killed so many people). But it was the way he denied it that was very revealing in his You-Tube interview with you.

  • slug

    I suppose if they hadn’t murdered so many people, then others would not be so interested in them.

  • Not guilty – have never interviewed him.

  • mark

    When was proof ever the issue ?

  • billy

    spot on

  • Mr E Mann

    I think some folks are letting their hostility to MMG obscure their reading of this text. He does say anything about whether PIRA carried out the Claudy atrocity, whether Chesney was in PIRA, or whether Chesney was involved in the killings. He just covers his rear by implying (but not actually stating) that his own unit was not involved, and denies that he had heard of Chesney in 1972 or in the few years afterwards. If Chesney was in PIRA, or even if he was just one of PIRA’s small band of active material supporters, it would not be surprising at all for MMG to be called to his deathbed. None of this is implausible. None of it really says anything about whether Chesney was guilty, either.

  • Mr E Mann

    typo: read “he does not say anything…”

  • joan

    spot on i luvni, and no-one worse in that department than mallie – what shouts out during these interviews are the questions that weren’t asked like: you spoke for 25 minutes so what exactly did you speak about? you say the conversation was about how supportive he was of the republican cause, so how can you drag that out for 25 minutes? or, you told the bbc a few years ago you’d never met him, so why are you fessing up now? and if he pleads a faulty memory the next question should be: and you want to have a truth process? every time you get to something awkward like your nonsensical claim that you left the ira in 1974, you’re going to plead a faulty memory, aren’t you? give us a break!

  • HeinzGuderian

    Muddled Marty………who are you ???
    Fadda C……..i am Fadda C………..I am a dying !!
    MM……..hmmmmm,bit nippy today like ?
    FC………….promise me,oh my hero,there will be no return to that hated Stormont !!
    MM……………..never,never,never, Fadda………you have my word of honour on that,so ye have….like !!
    FC…………sings deliriously…..’a notion once again……
    MM…………….whistles,glances nervously at his watch,……..
    FC…..M M Marty…………..will dear ole Oirland ever be free ???
    MM………..oh ayee FC,you can bet those fine pair of boots on it. As soon as you snuff………..ermmmm,pass over,I’m away to Brussels to see our new political masters !!

    Tears,beers,and Three cheers later…………..Muddled Marty remembers !!

    Now stop picking on Marty and Fr C…………..Two men,One vision…..NO HOPE !!! 🙂

  • Congal Claen

    Maybe he was asking Marty what it’s like on the other side before going over to the other side himself?

  • socaire

    I think a bit of respect is due to the man who is the equal leader of our great wee country. And it is a country! Anne Robinson said so on Monday. Which country in the UK is Belleek pottery made in? Ans: Northern Ireland! So there!

  • joeCanuck

    Some great logicians here.
    Martin McGuinness was in the IRA.
    Fr.Chesney was a confirmed republican and perhaps was in the IRA. Maybe even was involved in a bombing.
    MMG met the priest when he was dying.
    Therefore MMG ordered the Claudy bombing and the priest carried out the order.
    Simples.

  • HeinzGuderian

    slappy………………..whataboutery and whinge,is getting soooooo tiresome…………….that goes for your chorus line as well !!!

  • HeinzGuderian

    Indeed !! Respect for our British Minister………….we salute you Sir Muddled……………..Stormont is no more…………..the Brits have gone,and all is peace and tranquility……………..’marty ? here marty…….wake up boy,yer mumbling again’

    🙂

  • HeinzGuderian

    Some great magicians here……….

    Muddled Marty had never heard of Fadda C
    Fadda C’s dying wish is to meet MM
    ‘Who he’?? MM asks
    ‘A rep sympathiser MM’

    Sure bejebus,if I was to go to every rep sympathisers death bed,I’d be in a permanent black tie’ !!
    ‘Ayeee,but this is THE Fadda C,who was spirited away because……………………wait for it………………….he was an innocent wee priest ‘!!!

    Oooooooooooooooh

    simples *tch* 🙂

  • joeCanuck

    Piece of advice I got just yesterday:

    Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.

  • jim

    not the way it works.mcguinness was on the BRIGADE staff of the ira when the claudy bombs were done it had to go through the brigade staff for the go ahead.same way bloody friday was given the nod of the belfast brigade

  • old school

    Mc Guinness told the Bloody Sunday Tribunal he left the IRA in the Mid 70s, so assuming he never lies, he visited Chesney as a member of Sinn Fein visiting another member/suppoter of SF.
    Did An Phoblacht mention Chesneys passing at all?
    Their online archives don’t go back to the days SF prefer to forget. You know… when they said all those radical things.

  • It is possible MMcG knew something of Chesneys past without knowing all of it. It is possible Chesney asked to meet one of his heroes.

    It is important to get at the truth but I doubt, short of very convincing confession by others involved, anyone will believe the results of any investigation, even though I firmly believe a full investigation is necessary.