Gardai at Belfast pride ‘stinks to high heaven’: Kingsmills survivor

Survivor Alan Black
Survivor Alan Black

The sole survivor of the Kingsmills massacre says it “stinks to high heaven” that uniformed Gardai may attend the Gay Pride parade in Belfast on Saturday while refusing to attend an inquest into the atrocity in the city.

The PSNI has invited uniformed Gardai officers to take part in the parade alongside them.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny promised Kingsmills survivor Alan Black (left) full disclosure on the atrocity when they met in Bessbrook in March 2015. Pic: Pacemaker.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny promised Kingsmills survivor Alan Black (left) full disclosure on the atrocity when they met in Bessbrook in March 2015. Pic: Pacemaker.

So far the Garda said it has given eight of its officers official permission to take part in the parade in uniform.

However, Coroner Judge Brian Sherrard has been asking for Gardai to attend the Kingsmills inquest since 2014.

The Irish government says it does not have legislation to direct an officer to attend, however lawyers for the families have asked for a volunteer.

Alan Black, who survived the 1976 IRA attack that claimed the lives of his 10 work colleagues, said it was clear where the Garda’s priorities lie.

Mr Black said: “Garda officers can come across the border to take part in the Gay Pride parade but not one of them can come across to the coroner’s court [for the Kingsmills inquest].

“It shows where their priorities lie. It stinks to high heaven.”

He added: “If they wanted to do something they can do it but if they don’t, they can hide behind legislation.

“They are just being very bad neighbours to be honest with you.”

READ MORE: Kingsmills survivor turns down offer of private meeting with Garda

Three widows of the men killed at Kingsmills are in their 80s and 90s and others, like Mr Black, are in their 70s.

“If they can stall it all they can for years, they will wait for us to go into bad health and die,” he added. Mr Black has no opinion on the parade itself, he said.

Two hijacked minibuses linked to Kingsmills were abandoned in the Republic, four weapons were recovered there and the PSNI’s top three suspects served time in the south for terrorist offences.

A Garda spokesman said officers may attend the Gay Pride parade with permission.

“An Garda Síochána has been invited by the PSNI to take part in this year’s Pride Parade in Belfast on the 5th August 2017,” he said. “Members of An Garda Síochána, their families and friends are all invited to take part and join members from the PSNI and their colleagues from Great Britain. Garda members may, with permission, take part in uniform.”

Mr Black also reacted angrily to Taoiseach Leo Vradakar’s plans to give a speech in Belfast today (Saturday) in support of Belfast’s Gay Pride festival.

In 2015 Taoiseach Enda Kenny promised the Kingsmills families full disclosure of southern files on the atrocity. However Mr Black says this never happened and he now wants to know if Mr Vradakar (pictured) will honour Mr Kenny’s promises.

A Taoiseach’s spokesman responded that they had already sent “significant evidence” to the Kingsmills legacy inquest. “The Irish Government is cooperating fully, in accordance with the law, with the Coroner’s Inquest into the Kingsmill case,” he said.

However Mr Black hit back that Dublin has only released newspaper clippings so far. “When they prioritise attending Gay Pride over the death of 10 men it just shows their priorities,” he added.

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