New Kingsmill’s inquest welcomed

August 12, 2013

Last week’s decision by the attorney general to proceed with a new inquest into the Kingsmill’s murders on the back of information contained in the HET report on the killings has been welcomed by campaigners and political representatives.

Ten Protestant workmen were murdered by the IRA in the Kingsmill’s massacre in 1976. The textile workers were murdered when the bus they were travelling home from work in was ambushed near the village of Kingsmill.  Eleven armed men, using the cover name of the south Armagh Republican Action Force, forced the victims into revealing their religion before shooting them dead.

Kevin Winters, a solicitor acting for the sister of victim John McConville, welcomed the news of a new inquest but expressed concerns about adequate resources being made available to the coroner due to the current backlog of historical cases, which means coroner, John Leckey, has been unable to give a timescale for the Kingsmill’s inquest.

Ulster Unionist MLA Danny Kennedy said he would press the justice minister to provide more resources.

“This is a welcome development in pursuit of obtaining maximum justice for the relatives of Kingsmill’s,” he said.

“However, given the current workload indicated by the senior coroner, it is vital that this inquest should be brought forward to the earliest possible date.”

The SDLP’s Dominic Bradley also welcomed the news.

“The families of the victims have the right to the truth of what happened on the night their loved ones were murdered and, where possible, to the prosecution of anyone proven to be responsible in any way,” he said.

“Kingsmill’s was a sectarian massacre of innocent people who were doing nothing more than returning from a day’s work.  It happened at a time when murder strode the streets and roads of this region taking the lives of many innocent victims.

“I believe that it is also now timely for the HET to publish its long awaited report on the Glenanne Gang.  All victims’ families deserve to know the truth and there should be no cover-up or protection of individuals who were involved in murderous activity whether acting on behalf of paramilitary groups or state agencies.  The truth must come out.  If new inquests into the Kingsmill’s murders bring the families closer to the truth then that is to be welcomed.  If there are grounds for prosecutions then that course of action should be pursued.”