Families of the Kingsmills massacre victims have had a “heated” meeting with Theresa Villiers as the row over on the run (OTR) terror suspects continues.
Willie Frazer of victims’ group FAIR also attended the talks with the Secretary of State at Hillsborough Castle yesterday.
Speaking afterwards, Mr Frazer said the Kingsmills families have been outraged at the perceived amnesty for those living outside the UK jurisdiction for fear of arrest.
He described the meeting as “one of the most heated” he had ever taken part in with the Northern Ireland Office and said the families had “demanded the Secretary of State withdraw the OTR amnesty letters immediately”.
“However,” he added, “Ms Villiers refused to agree to the demand stating the letters were not amnesties and the individuals concerned could be arrested if new evidence became available to the authorities.”
Mr Frazer said some of the families were in tears, and added: “Family members felt totally and utterly betrayed by Ms Villiers’ attitude and response or indeed her lack of response. The families have never felt like this before. Furthermore, they do not accept police are responsible for this current situation. This mess is the direct result of a political directive from officials within the NIO or the OFMDFM and no one else.”
Another victims’ group, Innocent Victims United (IVU), has also demanded answers to what it called the “political chess game” being played away from the main political arena.
IVU spokesman Kenny Donaldson said he supported the idea of an independent inquiry. He said: “This inquiry must include full details of all those who have received these ‘technical escape justice letters’, who authorised the letters and who was privy to this information.”
Mr Donaldson added: “We call on church, civic and political leaders to row behind us and stand up for morality. The soul of this country is at stake and we all must be mindful of the type of society that we wish to live in and which we would wish our children and grandchildren to be part of.”