Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness has described the Claudy bombings as “appalling and indefensible.”
Mc McGuinness was speaking today on the 40th anniversary of the no-warning car bombings which killed nine people and injured many others in the county Derry village on July 31 1972.
To date no-one has claimed responsibility for the bomb attacks but many blamed the IRA, a claim denied by the organisation.
A number of the relatives have called on Mr McGuinness, an IRA leader in Derry at the time of the bombings, to co-operate with the police investigation into the atrocity.
Mr McGuinness said; “The deaths and injuries caused in Claudy on 31 July 1972 were wrong. The events of that day were appalling and indefensible and they should not have happened.”
The Deputy First Minister also said the Claudy families are entitled to the truth.
“All of the families of those who died or were injured deserve and are entitled to the truth about the deaths of their loved ones. We must collectively increase our efforts to heal the deep hurt caused by the Claudy bombings and all of the suffering in 1972, and continue to build on the progress of our peace process,” he said.
Mr McGuinness also said a new way of dealing with the past is needed. “Today marks the anniversary of Claudy. It is also the 40th anniversary of two unarmed young men from Creggan in Derry who were shot by the British Army. Last week it was Bloody Friday. Next week is the anniversary of the killing of nineteen people in Ballymurphy during internment week.
“It is my firm view that we need to find a better way of dealing with the legacy of the conflict which goes beyond individual acts of commemoration or remembrance and begins to deal with the very real hurt that exists throughout our society,” he added.