Families attend a memorial service 50 years after the Claudy attacks

The families of those killed in the Claudy attacks paid their respects to their loved ones at a solemn memorial event to mark the 50th anniversary of the attack.

A cross-community service with readings and hymns was held in the village of Co Londonderry.

Nine people, Catholics and Protestants, were killed and 30 injured after the explosion of three car bombs in Claudy on July 31, 1972. Among the dead were three children.

The attack was blamed on the Provisional IRA, although the group never claimed responsibility. No one has ever been convicted for the bombings.

A service in Claudy to commemorate the nine people killed in three bombings in the town in 1972 (Liam McBurney/PA)

Representatives of the nine bereaved families played a part in Sunday’s commemoration, which was attended by hundreds of local people.

Bereaved relatives read prayers during the service and later laid floral tributes on individual plaques dedicated to the victims who sit on a wall behind a memorial statue.

Among those killed were nine-year-old Kathryn Eakin, who cleaned the windows of her family’s grocery store, Patrick Connolly, 15, and William Temple, 16.

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

Several of the bereaved families are pursuing legal action against the Catholic Church after a 2010 police ombudsman report found a Catholic priest, the late Father James Chesney, to be a suspect.

The report says the police, the state and the Catholic Church covered up his alleged role in the bombing.

Claudy attacks 50 years anniversaryThe aftermath of the Claudy attacks in 1972 (PA)

Attending the event on Sunday, James Miller, grandson of David Miller, said it was important to continue remembering those who lost their lives.

“I’m here today to remember my grandfather, the grandfather I never liked,” he said.

“I was three years old when he was killed, he was brutally taken from me and my family.

“I could never bounce on his knee, I could never play football with him, we think we were robbed of a great man.

“We come to remember because we don’t want to forget these people, we don’t want to forget what happened to Claudy’s nine innocent victims.

“They were brutally shot, some of them in the prime of life – there were young people, there were old people, there were Catholics, there were Protestants, men and women and they all were brutally taken away.”

Troubles in Northern IrelandFlowers on memorial plaques during a service in Claudy (Liam McBurney/PA)

Victims’ Group South East Fermanagh Foundation (SEFF) has supported families over the past 12 months by developing a series of projects and events designed to mark the anniversary.

After the service, guests were invited to a nearby community center for the official launch of a new book on the bombings.

The foreword was written by former world champion boxer Barry McGuigan, who has a family connection to the youngest victim, Kathryn Eakin.

An artwork created by students from two local primary schools was also displayed in the centre.

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