Belfast Telegraph

Kingsmills truth being buried by authorities, say victim's relatives

By Michael McHugh

Relatives of a Protestant workman gunned down in a sectarian IRA attack almost 40 years ago have accused the authorities of attempting to bury the truth.

Ten textile workers were shot dead near the Co Armagh village of Kingsmills in 1976 after masked gunmen flagged down the minibus they were travelling home from work in.

The PSNI Chief Constable is addressing major funding cuts, and proposed prioritising keeping people safe over addressing the past. Many historical inquests which rely on security force information could be affected, including those concerning Kingsmills.

Relatives of one victim, John McConville, said: "As we know from many current issues, future generations will be fully justified in criticising their forebears for having attempted to bury the truth, no matter how toxic or uncomfortable the truth might be."

They have written to Justice Minister David Ford, senior coroner John Leckey and the PSNI rejecting financial reasons for delay.

Funds for investigating the past could be lost due to potential budget cuts of £88m, Chief Constable George Hamilton has said. He argued his priority was keeping the public safe now.

Records show the Kingsmills killers asked all occupants of the vehicle what religion they were. The only Catholic worker was ordered away and the 11 remaining workmates shot. One survived, despite being hit 18 times.

Injured Alan Black, now close to his 71st birthday, is a key witness.

A McConville family statement said: "Surviving such an atrocity and being told the delay is down to money is, in his own words, just not acceptable and causes further trauma for all concerned."

Yesterday relatives attended the third preliminary hearing of the inquest at Belfast Coroner's Court. A full hearing has not been set.

The McConville letter added: "Unfortunately our conclusion leads us to believe that the delay is an intentional inbuilt strategy to conveniently allow us all to lose interest and just slowly disappear off the scene.

"But we will not lose interest or just conveniently disappear, no matter how inconvenient that is."

No one has been convicted of the murders.

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