Willie Frazer: Kingsmills coroner acknowledges role of campaigner

The coroner at the legacy inquest acknowledged the contribution made by Willie Frazer.' Photo: Pacemaker
The coroner at the legacy inquest acknowledged the contribution made by Willie Frazer.' Photo: Pacemaker
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The coroner in the Kingsmills Massacre legacy inquest has acknowledged the death of Willie Frazer, in the first hearing since the victims campaigner died in June.

Judge Brian Sherrard also acknowledged the passing of Bea Worton, whose son Kenneth was also murdered in the 1976 atrocity carried out by the IRA at Kingsmills in south Armagh.

Mr Sherrard acknowledged the contributions that both Bea and Willie had made to the legacy inquest, her son Colin told the News Letter.

Ten Protestant civilians were taken out of their minibus and gunned down by the side of the road by a group of gunmen in 1976. Although the IRA never claimed responsibility for the attack, the PSNI says ballistics records show that all the weapons used belonged to the IRA.

Another significant development on Friday was that lawyers for the relatives of the dead expressed concern at the detail of legislation recently passed by the Irish government to allow Gardai to give evidence to the inquest.

Weapons and vehicles linked to the massacre were found in the south and suspects reportedly used the republic as a base of operations and safe haven after the attack. Relatives of the dead are keen to hear Gardai discuss their intelligence and investigations into suspects.

Mr Worton said: “We have been chasing the Gardai for three years to cooperate with the inquest and today we find out that despite this new legislation from Dublin, the coroner may not even be able to question them face to face.

“It seems we will have to write down our questions in advance for them to answer and that there may be no option to cross examine witnesses. It certainly does not seem to be open and transparent and seems to be a bit of sour pill in comparison to the full cooperation that Taoiseach Enda Kenny promised us in Bessbrook in 2015.”

The inquest also heard that there has still been no final decision on whether to name two dead suspects who had IRA On-The-Run letters, as the families have requested for some time. Their lawyers have argued that there is no risk to life for dead suspects.

Judge Sherrard also announced that the full proceedings of all hearings of the legacy inquest will be made available on public transcript.

“This will be good for the ordinary person because at least they will be able to go and read it all for themselves in years to come,” Mr Worton added.