Dublin accused of own national security veto on Troubles files

Kingsmills survivor Alan Black, left, said the Taoiseach, right, looked him in the eye and promised full disclosure in Bessbrook in March 2015. Pic: Pacemaker Press

Kingsmills survivor Alan Black, left, said the Taoiseach, right, looked him in the eye and promised full disclosure in Bessbrook in March 2015. Pic: Pacemaker Press

The sole Kingsmills massacre survivor has accused the Taoiseach of breaking his promise of full disclosure on the atrocity, in what is being described as Dublin’s ‘national security veto’ on Irish Troubles files.

The IRA shot ten Protestant workmen near Kingsmills in south Armagh in 1976. The Historical Enquiries Team (HET) said the IRA fled back to Co Louth afterwards.

After several years of pressure for disclosure, Taoiseach Enda Kenny met the Kingsmills families in Bessbrook in March 2015 and said that his most sensitive files may not be released but that he would allow the Belfast coroner to view them in Dublin for the legacy inquest.

The Coroners Service said it could not comment on the matter as it was not present at the meeting, however it is understood it was unaware of the until last week.

The sole survivor of the atrocity, Alan Black, told the News Letter: “Enda Kenny told us in Bessbrook - ‘I am looking you in the eye and I am promising full disclosure’.”

However Mr Black noted that four weapons used at Kingsmills, later recovered by Garda, have not been mentioned in Dublin’s disclosure to date - nor has any intelligence about the IRA suspects.

“The Taoiseach was standing there with three or four advisors at the time,” Mr Black said. “He spoke with them and then there could be problems sending some papers out of his jurisdiction and if so he would facilitate the Belfast coroner to travel to Dublin to look at them. But now it seems they must have just decided not to do it. It is cruel in the extreme.”

The Historical Enquiries Team (HET) said the IRA fled back to Co Louth afterwards.

Colin Worton, whose brother Kenneth was killed, was present for the Taoiseach’s promise. “What he has sent up so far is mainly newspaper clippings,” he said. “Obviously there are sensitive security files they are holding back or he would never have made such a promise in the first place.”

DUP MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said: “Whilst the Irish Government has been highly critical of the UK when the British authorities have restricted access to documents for national security reasons, it seems Dublin actually operates a similar policy and is refusing full access to documents held in connection with the Kingsmills massacre.”

UUP MLA Danny Kennedy, who also heard the promise, said it is “a moral imperative, that the Taoiseach should fully honour the commitments given by him directly to the Alan Black and the Kingsmills families in the meetings at both Bessbrook and Dublin”.

The Taoiseach’s office failed to offer any comment.

HET said Garda failed to explain the recovery or disposal of three weapons used at Kingsmills. Weapon Two was recovered at Carlingford Road, Co Meath in 1979, Weapon Five in 1978 in Dungooley, Co Louth and Weapon Seven, earlier in 1978, also in Co Louth.

HET said Brian Tumilty was given seven years after Garda arrested him with Weapon Three in Dundalk in 1981. HET said the getaway minibus was hijacked in Dundalk by Suspect A, loosely identified by HET as veteran republican Colm Murphy. HET said suspects A, B and C all served sentences in the south for terrorism; A in 1972 and 1976, B in 1972 and C in 1971.

The full statement from the Northern Ireland Coroners Service on the matters is as follows;-

“The Coroners Service is not in a position to comment on what was said at a meeting at which no representative of the Coroner was present. The Coroners Service has liaised with the Chief State Solicitor’s Office in Dublin and An Garda Síochána in preparation for the inquest.

“In 2015, two batches of An Garda Síochána material were furnished to the Coroner and were subsequently disclosed to interested parties. It can be seen from the hearing schedule that a witness from An Garda Síochána has been invited to attend to give evidence at the inquest in respect of matters arising from those materials. You will be aware from the preliminary hearing on 15th December 2016 that the Coroners Service continues to liaise with An Garda Síochána in respect of this matter.”