The sole survivor of the Kingsmills massacre has made a last impassioned plea for those involved to come forward before the inquest opens in just over a week.
The attack saw the IRA shoot 10 Protestant textile workers dead near Kingsmills in south Armagh as they travelled home from work in 1976.
The last preliminary hearing for the inquest into the atrocity, which is due to begin in earnest on May 23, was held on Friday.
Speaking at Laganside courts in Belfast, coroner Brian Sherrard repeated his call for anyone involved in the killings to contact his office in order to shed light on the events.
During the hearing Neil Rafferty QC, acting on behalf of some the Kingsmills families, reminded the court of their intention to invite former Garda IRA agent Sean O’Callaghan to give evidence.
After the hearing, the sole survivor of the attack, Alan Black, backed the coroner’s fresh appeal for witnesses – and Mr O’Callaghan’s involvement.
Asked by the News Letter whether he thought it would be helpful if Mr O’Callaghan gives evidence, Mr Black said: “Anyone who knows anything whatsoever regardless of their background – I would be very glad of any help.”
He added: “Some of those involved in the planning and logistics of this, they are looking at their own mortality as well.
“I would not like to be going to the grave with that sort of heavy stuff on my conscience. It is my hope that they will come forward.”
Asked what he would like anyone involved to tell the inquest, he replied: “It was inhuman what happened. I can’t even attempt to get into their conscience.”
During Friday’s hearing Sean Doran QC, acting for the coroner, said that sensitive intelligence files relating to the killings are currently with the Northern Ireland Office and that the PSNI is to meet them on Tuesday to review what can be released.
The files could be handed to the inquest by the end of next week, subject to Public Interest Immunity certificates being given.
But Fiona Doherty from KRW Law, acting for some of the families, said there were 1,300 pages which would take 1.5 minutes per page to read, totalling around 30 hours.
However, the files were “incredibly dense” and would also require detailed analysis. She called for more time for adequate study of them.
Mr Sherrard noted that witnesses directly relating to the intelligence files were not due to be called until June 13. He said that study of the intelligence files could continue up until then – or later if necessary.