Families ‘to meet PM on Kingsmills’

Alan Lewis - Photopress Belfast     5/1/07'The Anniversary of the Whitecross (Kingsmills) massacre.         The bullet-riddled minibus at the scene of the massacre of 10 protestant workman shot dead by the provisional IRA  at Kingsmills near the hamlet of Whitecross, in South Armagh .
Alan Lewis - Photopress Belfast 5/1/07'The Anniversary of the Whitecross (Kingsmills) massacre. The bullet-riddled minibus at the scene of the massacre of 10 protestant workman shot dead by the provisional IRA at Kingsmills near the hamlet of Whitecross, in South Armagh .

THE families of 10 Protestant workmen killed in an IRA massacre have said they are hopeful they will get a meeting with Prime Minister David Cameron.

The factory workers were gunned down by an IRA gang on January 5, 1976, after their minibus was stopped at Kingsmills in south Armagh as it brought them home from work.

No one has ever been convicted of the murders.

Earlier this year the Historical Enquiries Team completed a report into the murders and concluded that the IRA were responsible, despite a group called the South Armagh Republican Action Force claiming they had carried it out at the time.

Yesterday the families met with First Minister Peter Robinson, Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson and Newry and Armagh MLA William Irwin at Stormont Castle for around 90 minutes.

Spokesman Pastor Barrie Halliday described the meeting with the DUP representatives as “frank”, but said the families were happy with how it went.

He said while Mr Robinson said there would be no more public inquiries, he has backed their call for a new police investigation into the murders.

Mr Robinson promised to contact Prime Minister David Cameron, Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny and PSNI Chief Constable Matt Baggott about the matter.

Mr Halliday said the families were told he would arrange for them to meet Mr Cameron.

“The families were pleased with how the meeting went, we want to bring this on to a world stage,” said Mr Halliday, adding that some politicians could be among those questioned over the atrocity.

“I think there is a realisation that the unionist community are sick to the back teeth of all the calls for inquiries.”

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Robinson described the atrocity was “one of the most heinous of the entire Troubles”.

“Whilst the Historical Enquiries Team (HET) has completed its report, it does not bring the matter to a close as the perpetrators were not properly identified nor was evidence produced capable of securing convictions,” he said.

“I agree with the families that the best way to advance the case is through a thorough police investigation where further evidence can be gathered and the perpetrators can be identified.

“The party will be pressing the Chief Constable on this matter and urging him to help the families secure this last step of closure.

“I have given a commitment to the families that their case will be raised with our Prime Minister and also the Irish Prime Minister and I will be asking each of them to meet with representatives of the Kingsmills families to hear their concerns directly.

“It is vital that both governments fully cooperate with any police investigation.