Irish government failing in its duties on Kingsmills: MP

Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan. Pic: Arthur Allison.
Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan. Pic: Arthur Allison.

UUP chief negotiator Tom Elliott has told Irish Foreign Minister Charlie Flanagan that Dublin is failing in its commitments to disclosure on Troubles legacy matters – in particular in relation to the Kingsmills massacre.

A party delegation met Mr Flanagan at Stormont on Thursday. MP Tom Elliott said he told Mr Flanagan that the Irish government had been “failing in its duties”, and that this was a sticking point in the talks.

Tom Elliott MP with Ulster Unionist Party colleagues at Stormont on Thursday.

Photo by Jonathan Porter / PressEye

Tom Elliott MP with Ulster Unionist Party colleagues at Stormont on Thursday. Photo by Jonathan Porter / PressEye

“Unless they are going to bring us more information and bring those victims more information then I feel they are failing in their duties,” Mr Elliott told the BBC. “There is a long way to go in the process that they have to fulfil.”

Progress in the talks with the UK and Irish government had so far “has been very limited”. However he believes there is potential for some agreement within a three-week window set aside for the formation of a new Northern Ireland Executive.

But he added: “If they’re looking for every I dotted and T crossed it’s not going to happen in that period of time.”

The IRA shot ten Protestant workmen as they returned home from work near Kingsmills in south Armagh in 1976. After a campaign of over two years for disclosure, Mr Kenny met the victims in Bessbrook in March 2015.

He promised that the Belfast coroner could travel to Dublin to see documents that are too sensitive to release. Despite the inquest opening in June 2016, it is understood this has not happened.

Since then, it is understood that only 60 pages of newspaper clippings and 30 pages of information largely already in the public domain has been released. Four weapons were recovered in the Republic but Garda were unable to tell the Historical Enquiries Team how three of them were recovered.

HET’s top three suspects served time in the south for unrelated terrorist offences.

Mr Flanagan has repeatedly commented on legacy matters such as the UK not holding an inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane.

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