Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Change in law needed to procure Kingsmill evidence

The Irish government hopes to meet with families of the Kingsmill massacre before the end of this month, former First Minister Arlene Foster has said.

The announcement was made following a meeting between the DUP leader and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in Belfast on Friday.

Mrs Foster used the opportunity to seek assurances from the Taoiseach regarding his government’s commitment to assisting the Kingsmill inquest, which restarted May, having been suspended last year to allow the investigation of a palm print found on a van used by the gunmen.

Ten Protestant factory workers were returning from work when they were shot dead by gunmen who stopped their bus at Kingsmill, near Whitecross in January 1976.

Despite assurances from former Taoiseach Enda Kenny during a meeting with the victims’ families in 2015, authorities in Dublin have failed to hand over Garda documents to the inquest and some of the bereaved relatives have threatened to boycott the inquest proceedings if the evidence is not produced.

The Irish government, however, insists it is prevented from doing so by current legislation and Garda commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan cannot direct an officer to give evidence without a change in the law.

Following her meeting with Leo Varadkar, Mrs Foster said: “We spoke about Kingsmill and the need to bring justice to those families.  We are working with the Taoiseach in relation to those issues.  They are looking at legislation and they are hoping to meet with the Kingsmill families before the end of the month.”

Meanwhile victims’ campaigner Willie Frazer says he is organizing a rally in Dublin next month in a bid to put pressure on the Irish government to hand over documents relating to the inquest.

The ‘Victims March for Justice” event is being planned for the end of September and will include bands which have lost members during the Troubles, he said.

Mr Frazer was responsible for the ‘Love Ulster’ rally in Dublin in 2006 which was abandoned after rioting broke out.