Kingsmills families split after call to close legacy inquest

Colin Worton, pictured with his wife Barbara outside Belfast High Court.
Colin Worton, pictured with his wife Barbara outside Belfast High Court.
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A man whose brother was killed in the Kingsmills massacre has challenged calls by some of the relatives of those killed to have the legacy inquest into the atrocity closed down.

In a statement published in the Irish News on Wednesday, some of the relatives said that, four years after the inquest opened, the coroner should now “switch off the life support” and bring the inquest “to an expeditious conclusion”.

Ten Protestant workmen were gunned down by the IRA at Kingsmills in 1976 as they made their way home from work. Only Alan Black survived.

There are two groups of families - both with separate legal teams - involved in the inquest and it is understood that the legal team for the majority of relatives were not aware that a statement calling for the inquest to end was being released.

The statement, which was also released in the name of Mr Black, said that since February last year seven hearings have been cancelled or rescheduled. It added that the RUC did not employ traditional investigative techniques at the time “but resorted almost exclusively to the sinister use of informants, agents and collusion with the perpetrators”.

Colin Worton, whose brother Kenneth was murdered, said he did not know a statement was being released.

“I share the concerns of delays, in that they are always putting off naming the dead suspects who had OTR letters,” he said. “And the times of the hearings are always set to suit the lawyers, the families are never consulted.

“However, it would be despicable if it closes down without holding the Gardai to account, because to date all the Irish authorities have provided us with is nothing we did not already know.”

He noted that then taoiseach Enda Kenny promised the families full cooperation at a meeting in Bessbrook in 2015.

Mr Worton said he wanted to ask Gardai about how they followed up investigations on the getaway minibus stolen and dumped in the south; the Kingsmills weapons recovered by Gardai; the three top suspects who served time for terrorism in the Republic, and how they were able to have “free passage back and forth across the border and safe haven in the south”.

Mr Worton does believe any information has come to light in the hearings demonstrating British collusion.

“There was some collusion by the British state during the Troubles, but I believe the Irish state is equally if not more responsible in that regard,” he added.