Belfast Telegraph

Simon Coveney 'to address Kingsmill inquest issues'

By Suzanne Breen

The families of those killed in the Kingsmill massacre say they are "very hopeful" that the Irish Government will hand over security files on the IRA attack.

They were speaking after meeting the Irish Foreign Minister in Armagh last night.

The relatives told Simon Coveney that the failure to pass on the documents was hampering the inquest into the atrocity.

DUP leader Arlene Foster, who set up the meeting, accompanied the families. Victims' campaigner Willie Frazer said he was impressed with Mr Coveney's attitude.

"The meeting went very well. It was blunt and we told him what we thought of Dublin's actions until now but, to be fair to him, he took all we said on board," Mr Frazer stated.

"I found him far easier to deal with than Enda Kenny. We have been trying to get Dublin to hand over these documents for years now.

"Mr Coveney acknowledged the points we made and there seems to have been confusion over the amount of material already handed over.

"He has made a commitment to address the situation. He has also asked to meet us again so he's not trying to run and hide from this."

Ten Protestant workers were ordered out of their minibus by IRA gunmen in 1976 and shot dead by the side of the road in Kingsmill.

An inquest into their deaths, which began in May, is due to resume again next month after breaking for the summer.

The families say that the Irish authorities have an array of material relating to the massacre including evidence as to who hijacked the vehicle used in the attack and intelligence documents on several suspects who were later arrested in the Republic with weapons used in Kingsmill and other IRA murders.

Dublin has previously insisted that it has co-operated fully with the Kingsmill inquest but the families say that most of the material so far handed over has been newspaper cuttings.

Mr Frazer said: "Simon Coveney acknowledged that some things weren't right and he has promised to look into it. He has also said he will ask for direction from the coroner on the matter.

"He said that new legislation coming in will help with the transfer of material in legacy cases. We are very hopeful following this meeting."

The victims' campaigner said Mrs Foster had been "very positive" about the meeting and had pledged she would "stay in touch with Mr Coveney on this matter and ensure that promises are followed through".

Mr Frazer has previously warned that if the Irish authorities don't act speedily, the Kingsmill families will hold a protest rally outside Leinster House next month.

The last attempt by IRA victims to march in Dublin led to serious rioting which caused the Love Ulster demonstration to be abandoned in 2006.

Belfast Telegraph

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