Doubt over Kenny’s Kingsmills files pledge

Enda Kenny (right) promised Kingsmills survivor Alan Black disclosure on security files when they met in 2015
Enda Kenny (right) promised Kingsmills survivor Alan Black disclosure on security files when they met in 2015

The taoiseach’s office has remained silent on whether Enda Kenny will fulfil his promise to the Kingsmills massacre families to release sensitive documents.

The News Letter has asked Mr Kenny whether his promise would be fulfilled before he steps down from office – expected soon after St Patrick’s’ Day – or if it would lapse with his resignation.

Ten Protestant workmen were murdered by the IRA in 1976 as they drove home from work in south Armagh.

Four of the weapons used were recovered in the Republic of Ireland, where the PSNI’s top three suspects served unrelated terms for terrorism.

In Bessbrook in 2015 Mr Kenny told the families that he would invite their coroner to Dublin to view sensitive files on the matter.

Six months after the inquest opened, the News Letter revealed in December that the Irish premier had never extended the invite to the coroner.

Asked what would happen after Mr Kenny’s resignation, the Irish Department of Justice said that the Garda and chief state solicitor are “co-operating” with the coroner as “part of a continuing legal process that has not yet concluded”.

“They continue to work with the Northern Ireland coroner on an ongoing basis to support the inquest to the greatest extent possible in accordance with the law.”

The taoiseach’s office offered no comment, except a duplicate of the same statement from the Department of Justice, but three days later.

Belfast woman and Irish Labour Party senator Mairia Cahill said Mr Kenny is “a man of his word” and that “if any taoiseach makes a commitment then it would be my expectation that the government would uphold this”.

But victims’ campaigner Willie Frazer said the Irish government was “playing games with us”.

“An invite to Dublin was not mentioned in the hearing on February 22 and it formally opens again on March 9. There is simply no time to invite the coroner down before then.”

A coroner’s spokeswoman said he cannot comment on promises made when he was not present, but he continues to liaise with the Garda about sending a witness to give evidence on some materials already disclosed by Dublin.