Kingsmills families want inquiry

Published Tuesday, 21 June 2011
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The families of 10 Protestant workmen killed in the Kingsmills massacre 35 years ago are demanding a public inquiry following the publication of a Historical Enquiries Team report into the atrocity.

Last week UTV revealed an investigation by the HET found the IRA, who claimed to be on ceasefire at the time, was behind what is one of the worst atrocities of the Troubles under the cover name of the South Armagh Republican Action Force.

The men were shot dead on their way home from work in the south Armagh village after being ambushed by 11 gunmen on 5 January 1976.

They were forced at gunpoint to reveal their religion. They were lined up, flasks and lunchboxes still in their hands, and shot dead. One man hit 18 times survived.

The report found the weapons used by the gunmen could be linked to up to 100 other killings, included the murders of RUC Chief Superintendent Harold Breen and Superintendent Raymond Buchanan in South Armagh in 1989.

The report said: "After the initial burst of heavy gunfire, it became apparent to the gunmen that some of the workmen may still be alive.

The intention to murder everyone was absolute. No one was to survive.

Historical Enquiries Team report

The report said the motive was sectarian with each man murdered because he was a Protestant. This was underlined by the fact that the only Catholic worker in the group, Richard Hughes, was allowed to get away.

It found earlier loyalist attacks on other families were the catalyst for the premeditated and calculated slaughter.

The report also lists flaws by the small 12-man RUC team that investigated the killings, detailing how they failed to trace and interview a number of potential witnesses.

The families of those murdered, who gathered at Bessbrook town hall for the official release of the 108-page report, are demanding a full inquiry into mistakes by the authorities.

The brother of one of the victims, Colin Worton, said: "Without a shadow of a doubt (the RUC and Government) didn't do enough... within the first year this should have been solved".

He said: "It's good to see it in print. There has been things overlooked and it doesn't give much satisfaction with the original investigation because there have been missed opportunities."

Karen Armstrong, whose brother John McConville was also shot dead, said: "For the first time in 35 years we've been given some acknowledgement and it's been highlighted that a lot of things didn't happen at the time regarding the investigation".

"After a short period of time the investigation stopped and our question is why in subsequent years why this wasn't picked up on. We are the only voice for the men who lost their lives that night. And if we don't try and get some answers then there is seriously something wrong as human beings".

It is believed the gunmen were all living in the Republic by December 1976.

In 2002, a key suspect was stopped at Heathrow. Despite still being on a wanted list, he was allowed to continue on his journey.

© UTV News
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18 Comments
Ulysses32 in Belfast wrote (1,207 days ago):
I did say the Club of Reality, not the Club of Surreality. Ah, well. Back to you cozy we bubble then....
LORNA in limavady wrote (1,208 days ago):
Ulysses 32. You clearly misunderstand my comment. intently ? I never put human being on a pedestal Uss. To me the RUC deserved more praise than what they got from the people that they served.Having seen how they were treated by both sides that praise was truely deserved. I SAW MEN AND WOMAN PUT ON A UNIFORM AND ATTEND TO DUTY AFTER BURYING A COLLAGUE. If that were not to enbitter anyone. that is why until I die i will defend them.
Ulysses32 in Belfast wrote (1,219 days ago):
Criticising your beloved RUC, Lorna? Allegations of collusion? My, my Lorna, not like you. Perhaps you are now of the opinion that they were not the lily-white crusaders you held so high on a pedestal. Welcome to the Club of Reality.
steve in belfast wrote (1,220 days ago):
Agree Lorna,the men that carried out this foul deed were members of the ira and they were at war with the with the british forces.They had an army council,they were prisoners of war when taken prisoner. They committed mass murder of 10 innocent civilians, targeted because they were protestant and for no other reason,this was genocide and is a war crime !Can someone tell me why the men who done this and their commanders are not being persued to be brought to the Hague to be tried by the International Criminal Tribunal ?
lorna in limavady wrote (1,220 days ago):
There wont be an enquiry since David Cameron says so. Too much money wasted on enquiries as it is and money was not spent wisely on both cummunities. One got all the perks and nothing is left for the other Protestant families. The enquiry will only tell us what we know already. Not if anyone in Government can tell who carried out the murders or make them give the enquiry account of all they know. We have Kingsmill to follow Claudy. Teeban was another when a bomb left by the IRA murdered many workmen. We hear the media saying how much the IRA have helped with the investigation going on in the South. but did they give names ? are they now willing to convict themselves for the peace process. NO .WE LIVE IN THE REAL WORLD .WERE ARE THE PEOPLE SHOUTING COLLUSION NOW these men lined up and shot were protestant. The RUC were supposed to investigate only Protestant murders.
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