Kingsmills families ‘have heard nothing from Taoiseach since 2012’

Relatives of the Kingsmills massacre victims and the sol survivor are pictured with Taoiseach Enda Kenny in Dublin in 2012.
Relatives of the Kingsmills massacre victims and the sol survivor are pictured with Taoiseach Enda Kenny in Dublin in 2012.

Campaigners for families of the victims of the Kingsmills massacre have accused Taoiseach Enda Kenny of double standards in backing an inquiry for Ballymurphy victims but not for them.

Kingsmills families are complaining that Mr Kenny has not offered them any support or fulfilled promises of further engagement since he met them in Dublin in September 2012.

By contrast, they are annoyed that the Taoiseach met members of the Ballymurphy campaign group last week and immediately said he would press Prime Minister David Cameron for a review of the shootings of their loved ones by the Army in 1971.

In the Kingsmills massacre, 10 Protestant workmen were shot dead by the IRA near Bessbrook on their way home from work in 1976.

Eleven people were shot dead over three days in Ballymurphy in 1971, when the Army was interning IRA suspects.

Colin Worton, whose brother Kenneth was murdered at Kingsmills, said there has been no contact from the Taoiseach since they met in Dublin in September 2012.

“I have heard nothing from any of them,” he said.

“I think this is a bit two-faced.

“Unionists and nationalists are increasingly retreating into their trenches but if everyone fits the same criteria they should be treated the same way.

“He is not being impartial in how he is treating us and how he is treating the Ballymurphy families.”

The Kingsmills families are pressing for an acknowledgement from Mr Kenny as to what they see as failures by the Irish state to combat the IRA.

“Throughout the Troubles, the Garda failed to maintain border checks and IRA suspects were allowed to flee into the south,” said Mr Worton.

“There were then umpteen cases where the Republic refused to extradite terrorist suspects for trial in Northern Ireland.”

Willie Frazer, spokesman for victims’ group FAIR, said Mr Kenny appears to be “suffering from amnesia”.

“Over a year ago he met with the Kingsmills families and promised to visit the FAIR office [in Markethill] and answer several questions put to him,” said Mr Frazer. “Now Mr Kenny has chosen to ignore us and treat us with utter contempt.”

Stormont Minister Danny Kennedy led the Kingsmills delegation to meet the Taoiseach in 2012.

“There is unfinished business between the Taoiseach and Kingsmills families and we would want to see that resolved as soon as possible,” said the UUP man yesterday.

“The Taoiseach’s office have not been in touch with my office since September 2012.

“The next step should be further engagement with the families, which he indicated in our last meeting that he was willing to do.”

The News Letter invited the Taoiseach’s office to comment on the situation yesterday but none had been offered at the time of going to press.

In September 2012, victims of the Kingsmills massacre said they were “disappointed” by the response from the Taoiseach to their requests for an apology for the Irish government’s failings in relation to the murders.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny had invited some 40 relatives of those killed to Dublin for an historic meeting but they were disappointed that he refused to consider an apology.

Danny Kennedy MLA said after the meeting: “We are clear that he is not being asked to apologise for the actions of the IRA. But we do believe there were failings both within the political and security systems that allowed events such as Kingsmills to take place and for that we think the Taoiseach should make a public acknowledgement and apology.”

The MLA said the Taoiseach promised to travel to south Armagh to meet the relatives again.