The UK government conspired with the Catholic Church to cover up a priest’s role in a 1972 bombing that left 9 people dead, according to a new report from Northern Ireland’s police ombudsman. Royal Constables suspected Father James Chesney was behind the triple car bombing, and involved in other IRA operations in the area. But before arresting him, they approached then secretary of state William Whitelaw and the head of the Catholic Church in Ireland, Cardinal William Conway.
Conway and Whitelaw then held a secret meeting, in which they agreed to spirit Chesney out of Northern Ireland. The meetings are detailed in diaries uncovered from both men. According to a Northern Ireland official, the cardinal “said he knew the priest was a very bad man” and suggested transferring him elsewhere. He was sent to Donegal, and died seven years later, having never faced a police inquiry, the Daily Telegraph reports. (Read more Northern Ireland stories.)