Kingsmills survivor calls for apology

Published Wednesday, 12 September 2012
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The only survivor of the Kingsmills massacre, who was shot 18 times during the 1976 atrocity, has spoken for the first time - telling UTV he wants apologies from the Irish Government and the IRA.

Kingsmills survivor calls for apology
Alan Black will travel to meet the Taoiseach on Thursday. (© UTV)

Alan Black witnessed ten of his friends being shot dead near Bessbrook, Co Armagh on 5 January 1976.

He has only now broken his silence, in the wake of an investigation by the Historical Enquiries Team.

"My last recollection ... the tips of the rifles, and just shooting them in the head ... 'Finish them off'," he told UTV's Sharon O'Neill.

Alan was in a minibus approaching the Kingsmills Road, as he and his workmates returned home.

Up to a dozen gunmen surrounded the van, ordered the men out and forced them at gunpoint to reveal their religion. A Catholic man was allowed to run for it. The rest were lined up and shot.

Ten men were killed. Remarkably, Alan survived. He escaped by pretending to be dead.

The shootings were thought to be an IRA revenge attack for the killing of six Catholics just hours earlier.

After 36 years, Alan now wants to tell his story and ask for redress from the IRA and the Irish government for their failures in the case.

The horror of it can't be described.

Alan Black

The Historical Enquiries Team confirmed that the Provision IRA were behind the attack, despite the grouping's denial of responsibility.

The HET also revealed that, by December 1976, all of the suspects were living in the Republic.

One of them was later linked to the Omagh bombing.

"I think it deserves an apology. You can't defend the indefensible," Alan said.

"These boys, they weren't UDR, the police, they weren't the army, they weren't anything.

"Like Sunday school teachers, footballers - Walter Chapman who liked to go out for a drink at the weekend and enjoy himself - why kill them?

"What was the thinking, that destroying all those lives was somehow going to advance their cause?"

He added: "The HET was good as far as it went, but it didn't go far enough. I would love to see them named and shamed at the very least."

Alan is travelling with families of the ten victims to meet Taoiseach Enda Kenny on Thursday.

"I'm so proud that the Bessbrook people, it didn't drive a wedge between them. It could easily have done, but it didn't," he said.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
15 Comments
jackie in belfast wrote (684 days ago):
why no comments on this story?
Patto69 in Belfast wrote (684 days ago):
It was 36 years ago, not 26. For goodness sake at least pretend to know the facts.
NIC in Belfast wrote (684 days ago):
NO ONE SHOULD HAVE BEEN KILLED OR INJURED IN THE COUNTRY NO DEATH ACHIEVES ANYTHING AND HAS ACHIEVED ANYTHING . NO ONE HAS THE RIGHT TO TAKE ANOTHER PERSONs LIFE BECAUSE OF COLOUR CREED OR BELIEF OR THE UNIFORM THEY WEAR. IN THE NAME IDEAOLOGY OR SO CALLED CAUSE RIP ALL PERSON WHO DID IN THE CONFLICT
greg in Armagh/Mid-Ulster wrote (685 days ago):
The IRA slaughter of civilian workers was entirely in keeping with a republican ideology which sought the physical elimination of a protestant population viewed by them as "foreign". Of course the Irish govt. won't apologise, to do so would imply guilt, not in keeping with a mindset of Irish gaelic imperialism
Observer in N Ireland wrote (685 days ago):
Great interview, but HET report made it clear that the Kingsmills Massacre would have taken months of planning ie was put in place long before the despicable UVF murders you speak of. To suggest otherwise offers justification and solace for Kingsmills.
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