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IRA talk of justice, yet still can’t even own up to Claudy bombing

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The last time Kathryn Eakin’s mother set eyes on her only daughter was forever frozen in her mind.

“I can still see her there, eight years old in her wee brown trousers, washing the shop windows, laughing and talking away to herself,” Merle told me.

“One minute she was shouting at me to come and see how she’d cleaned right into the corners of the windows like her daddy had asked, and the next minute she was dead.

“We were planning to make scones later that day. She loved baking.”

Kathryn was the youngest victim of the Claudy bombing. I interviewed Merle and her husband Billy on the 30th anniversary of the atrocity.

Merle passed away in August 2008 and Billy followed her six months later, but in so many ways both really died on July 31, 1972.

Billy bottled up his feelings, but Merle never stopped talking about her daughter.

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Like Omagh, Claudy was a cross-community atrocity. Five Protestants and four Catholics were killed.

The poet James Simmons captured the horror: “An explosion too loud for your eardrums to bear/Young children........

© Belfast Telegraph

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