HET report links guns to IRA attacks

The HET report into the 1976 Kingsmills massacre made a number of explicit links between the weapons used and other separate incidents involving the IRA.

HET was careful to say it could not assume individuals it named in the report were involved in Kingsmills, just that they had been convicted of other crimes in which the same weapons were used.

The report said that Kingsmills weapon No 1, a Colt AR-15 Armalite, was recovered during an attempted murder of security forces in Belleek, Newry, in 1976. Three people were convicted after the attack and all three were convicted of IRA membership – Patrick Joseph Quinn, Daniel Oliver McGuinness and Raymond Peter McCreesh, who later died in prison on hunger strike. The men were also convicted in relation to Kingsmills weapon No 6, an M1 Garand, and Kingsmills weapon No 8, a Sten MK2 SMG.

John Anthony McCooey was convicted in 1977 in relation to Kingsmills weapon No 5, an M1 Carbine. He was convicted in relation to the Tullyvallen Orange Hall murders and the separate murders of UDR corporal Robert McConnell and UDR sergeant Joseph McCullough. He was also convicted of IRA membership.

The HET report said IRA member Seamus Harvey was fatally shot during an ambush of soldiers in Crossmaglen in 1977 in which Kingsmills weapon No 3 was used – a HOWA AR180 Armalite.

The report linked 11 Kingsmills weapons to other attacks on security force members including 37 murders, 22 attempted murders, 19 non-fatal shootings and 11 finds of spent cartridges.