Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 26 May 2016

First Minister attends Kingsmill massacre church remembrance service

By Joanne Sweeney

Published 24/01/2016

First Minister Arlene Foster and William Irwin MLA joined politicians, clergy and families of the bereaved at a service of remembrance for the 40th anniversary of the Kingsmill massacre where 10 Protestant workmen were shot dead by the IRA. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
First Minister Arlene Foster and William Irwin MLA joined politicians, clergy and families of the bereaved at a service of remembrance for the 40th anniversary of the Kingsmill massacre where 10 Protestant workmen were shot dead by the IRA. Picture By: Arthur Allison.

First Minister Arlene Foster has attended an interdemoninational service to mark the 40th anniversary of the Kingsmill massacre where 10 Protestant workmen were shot dead by the IRA.

Afterwards she described the murders of the men as  "one of the cruelest and cold blooded acts of terrorism during the Troubles."

She added: "Those who try to rewrite the past by telling us that the men and women of PIRA were involved in some kind of noble battle need to explain what was noble about Kingsmills. It was an act of barbarism."

She joined with politicians, clergy and families of the victims at the service from 3pm Sunday  at Bessbrook Town Hall.

Justice Minister David Ford, Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt and Jim Allister, leader of the TUV were also there.

The murder of the ten men  - mainly textile workers - was one of the most heinous crimes in the Troubles.

They were shot dead by the IRA after they were taken off their work minibus close to the Co Armagh village of Kingsmill in January 5, 1976.

They were John Bryans, Robert Chambers, Reginald Chapman, Walter Chapman, Robert Freeburn, Joseph Lemmon, John McConville, James McWhirter, Robert Samuel Walker and Kenneth Worton.

The only survivor - Alan Black -  was only survivor also attended.  He was left seriously wounded and spent months in hospital recuperating.

The IRA gang allowed one man to leave unharmed after they found out he was  a Catholic.

The event was organised by the Kingsmill Memorial Committee.

A memorial service was also held  earlier this mark to mark the anniversary  where families of the victims gathered at the spot where they died for a religious service.

Clergy men and women from the local Presbyterian Church,  Church of Ireland and Methodist Church - Rev Keith McIntyre, Rev Will McCracken, Dreaning along Rev Frank Gibson took the prayer service while Tullyvallen Silver Band led the Praise.

The service was followed by the relatives' visiting the nearby memorial where they laid wreaths.

More to read:

Arlene Foster demands reality check over police funding for legacy cases  

 

IRA's numerous atrocities cast a long shadow over Rising centenary  

Paisley's name still shamed by Reavey family slur  

Kingsmill massacre survivor pleads for 'truth and justice'  

Reavey and O'Dowd families seek answers 40 years on from killings  

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