Belfast Telegraph

Kenny vow on Kingsmill 'worth wait'

Relatives of 10 Protestant workmen shot dead in a notorious sectarian attack in Northern Ireland have described a meeting with the Taoiseach as encouraging.

Enda Kenny travelled to Co Armagh to meet families of the textile workers who were gunned down near the village of Kingsmill in 1976.

Colin Worton, whose brother Kenneth was shot dead, said he had been reassured by Mr Kenny's comments regarding co-operation with forthcoming inquests.

Mr Worton said: " He gave us assurances that anything that could be passed over to the Coroner would be, and that if it was too sensitive, then the Coroner or his representatives could travel to Dublin.

"The meeting has moved things forward. Things are moving slowly, but at least they are moving."

Fresh inquests were ordered by Northern Ireland's attorney general, John Larkin in 2013 and claims have been made during preliminary hearings that An Garda Siochana have effectively ignored requests for information on the case.

Mr Worton added: "It was encouraging. He (Mr Kenny) seemed to be sincere enough and you can only take him at his word.

"He did keep us waiting but, it was worth the wait."

The textile workers were gunned down after an IRA gang stopped their minibus close to the Co Armagh village as they were travelling home from work.

They were forced to line up alongside the van and ordered to divulge their religion. The only Catholic worker was told to flee the scene while the 11 remaining workers were shot.

Just one man, Alan Black, survived despite being hit 18 times.

No one has ever been convicted of the murders.

It is believed the vehicle used by the gunmen was stolen in Co Louth then abandoned there a short time after the atrocity.

Today's meeting at Bessbrook Town Hall is the second time families have met with the Irish premier. It co mes ahead of another preliminary inquest hearing in Belfast tomorrow.

In a statement, Ulster Unionist MEP Jim Nicholson said he hoped there would be prosecutions for the outrage.

Mr Nicholson said: "I am glad that the Irish Government may at last be willing to recognise this pain and trauma and are now prepared to listen and empathise with the families.

"The visit to Bessbrook today by the Irish premier Enda Kenny to meet the families is a positive move.

"The intelligence is available to the Dublin authorities from the period of the mid-1970s IRA terrorist campaign, and I hope that this will be used to try and pursue prosecutions against those who carried out this terrible deed."

Meanwhile, DUP MLA William Irwin, who was also at the meeting, welcomed assurances offered by the Taoiseach.

Mr Irwin said: "I welcome the fact that Mr Kenny has given an assurance to the families that the information will be handed over.

"It does however remain a concern that it has taken sustained pressure to get to this stage.

"The Coroner has been waiting on this information for some considerable time and the delay is unacceptable, especially as we are dealing with what was without doubt one of the most heinous crimes carried out by the IRA."

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph