Kingsmills Massacre: Garda on trial for covering up IRA activities, says families’ QC

The minibus against which the ten Protestant men were linked up and shot dead is inspected in the aftermath.
The minibus against which the ten Protestant men were linked up and shot dead is inspected in the aftermath.
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Dublin is on trial for covering up for the IRA – a lawyer for the Kingmills massacre families has said – and he does not want to see a hard border when it comes to answers to the 145 questions they have for Garda.

Alan Kane QC was speaking at the inquest into the 1976 murder of ten Protestant workmen as they travelled home from work in their minibus at Kingsmills in south Armagh. Police later concluded it was a sectarian atrocity by the IRA.

Mr Kane said the families have 145 unanswered questions for the Garda and southern authorities; The suspected getaway vehicle was dumped in the south, a number of weapons were recovered there and the suspects took refuge there afterwards.

After sustained pressure, then Taoiseach Enda Kenny met the families in Bessbrook in March 2015 and promised them full cooperation with the inquest. But over four years later, the families say they have yet to see any significant disclosure from the Garda.

Mr Kane said the authorities in the republic “are on trial with regards to the response they will provide”.

Their answers will detail “their action or inaction” since 1976 and the families seriously hope the response will be “a lot more than political commentary”.

He added: “It is clear that over 40 years ago that there was a cover up and failure by An Garda Siochana in their investigations and by the authorities in the republic. We seriously hope there will be no cover up or lack of cooperation 40 years on.

“Because if there is a lack of cooperation then it will demonstrate that a hard border exists between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland in the legacy process investigating the IRA campaign in Northern Ireland.”

Mr Kane also said the newly drafted Irish legislation which will allow their questions to be put to a Garda witness in a southern court was flawed, because evidence will not be given in public, there will be no cross examination and there is no compulsion to answer questions.

Counsel for the MoD and PSNI, Michael Egan, said that the MOD would have no questions to submit to Garda and that it was unlikely the PSNI would either. However Mr Kane branded this “appalling” and said the PSNI should be playing an active part in the investigation. Mr Egan then replied that the PSNI had not yet taken a final decision.

The inquest also heard ongoing debate about demands to name two deceased suspects and how two suspects qualified as ‘not wanted’ under the On-The-Run scheme.