Kingsmills survivor rejects private Garda offer

Kingsmills massacre survivor Alan Black meeting then Taoiseach Enda Kenny in Bessbrook in March 2015, where Mr Kenny promised full disclosure on security files relating to the atrocity. Mr Black says the former Taoiseach broke his promises and failed to deliver. Photo Aidan O'Reilly/Pacemaker Press
Kingsmills massacre survivor Alan Black meeting then Taoiseach Enda Kenny in Bessbrook in March 2015, where Mr Kenny promised full disclosure on security files relating to the atrocity. Mr Black says the former Taoiseach broke his promises and failed to deliver. Photo Aidan O'Reilly/Pacemaker Press

The sole survivor of the Kingsmills massacre has rejected an offer to have a private meeting with senior Garda in Co Wicklow about the atrocity.

Since early 2014 Coroner Judge Brian Sherrard has repeatedly appealed to the Garda to appear at the legacy inquest into the atrocity.

Alan Black survived the IRA attack which saw his ten Protestant work colleagues slain in 1976. He too has made repeated calls for Garda to attend.

However last week two men called at his Bessbrook home and offered to set up a private meeting about Kingsmills with senior Garda, at Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation in Co Wicklow.

Alan said: “One of the questions I asked them was: ‘Would there be media present?’ and they said: ‘Absolutely not’.”

He said the first man said of his associate: “Alan, if you want to meet senior guards this is the man to arrange it.”

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He made it clear, Alan said, that the mediator in his home had high level contacts in the Irish government. However Mr Black rejected the offer.

He added: “I believe they meant well. The way it was put to me was that [the would-be mediator] could get senior Garda to meet with me.”

The offer was made in conversation, he said. “This offer was not made by the guards, it was made by Glencree [Centre for Peace and Reconciliation].”

“The way he put it, it was a very informal thing: ‘Would you like to meet senior guards, you could travel down to Glencree?’”

Alan later discussed it with other Kingsmills relatives.

“They thought that I would have to be very, very careful as to how it could be used against me, to distort the facts. We both came to the same conclusion that, ‘No, it could be used [to say] that the guards are bending over backwards to help, when in reality they are not’.”

He added: “There were two minibuses hijacked on the day of the murders. They were abandoned in the south, the gunmen escaped to the south.

“I think it is very important that a senior Garda would come down and even meet with the coroner, even if he doesn’t want to do it in open court. It is not ideal - open court would be far better.”

A spokeswoman for Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation said it does not comment on individuals cases. She added that the centre “facilitates dialogue, as it has always done, across these islands, with individuals, groups and communities in the interests of peace and reconciliation”.

The News Letter invited the Garda to respond but it declined to offer any comment.

READ MORE: Garda attending Belfast pride stinks to high heaven: Kingsmills survivor