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Dublin denies blocking inquest into Kingsmill

By Eamon Sweeney

The Irish Department of Justice has hit back at accusations from DUP leader Arlene Foster that they are impeding progress into an investigation into the Kingsmill atrocity.

In yesterday's Belfast Telegraph (below), Mrs Foster accused the Dublin government of "standing in the way of closure" for the families of the massacre carried out by members of the Provisional IRA 42 years ago.

Using the cover name of the South Armagh Catholic Reaction Force, the IRA murdered 10 Protestant workers having flagged them down at the roadside whilst pretending they were an Army patrol.

Victims' families have threatened to withdraw their support for a fresh inquest into the murders, stating they believe the Irish Government was in effect dragging its heels over the complete release of intelligence files held on the shootings.

Mrs Foster said: "Whilst I accept the handover of documents between two jurisdictions raises legislative problems, a voluntary solution would address the matter. I trust Prime Minister (Enda) Kenny will be able to encourage a positive response from his government. This has dragged on long enough."

A spokesperson for the Department of Justice in Dublin said any suggestion that there was a deliberate attempt to delay the inquest was "unfounded".

"Inevitably, the transfer of any criminal investigation material across international borders from one sovereign nation to a foreign civil authority must be on a proper legal basis.

"As the Northern Ireland Coroner is not a criminal justice agency and does not have jurisdiction to avail of international law on mutual legal assistance procedures, the Irish Government took the unprecedented step of producing domestic legislation in the form of a directive under the Garda Act and appropriate data protection regulations to facilitate legal co-operation with the inquest.

"This legislation facilitated the transfer of significant evidential material by an Garda Siochana to the Northern Ireland Coroner," the spokesperson continued.

The statement asserted that the Irish authorities have "continuously sought to co-operate with the coroner and his legal team as part of an ongoing legal process" and that there have been a number of meetings with the coroner in the past year.

Colin Worton, whose brother Kenneth was among the victims, said on Thursday that he would not be satisfied until there was full disclosure.

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