Kingsmills Massacre survivor pleads with Garda to help inquest

Kingsmills Massacre survivor Alan Black met Taoiseach Enda Kenny in Bessbrook in March 2015, where Mr Kenny promised full co-operation with the legacy inquest into the atrocity.
Kingsmills Massacre survivor Alan Black met Taoiseach Enda Kenny in Bessbrook in March 2015, where Mr Kenny promised full co-operation with the legacy inquest into the atrocity.

The only survivor of the Kingsmills massacre has called on the Irish authorities to show “goodwill” and send Garda witnesses to the Belfast inquest into the atrocity.

Ten Protestant workmen were taken from their minibus and gunned down by the IRA at Kingsmills in south Armagh in 1973.

On Thursday the inquest into the atrocity heard that Irish authorities had told the coroner’s representative in a recent meeting in Dublin that they did not have a legislative basis to compel Gardai to leave the jurisdiction to attend a court in Belfast.

But lawyers acting for the families accused Dublin of “throwing up legal mechanisms” to prevent co-operation, and noted that PSNI officers attended the Smithwick Tribunal in Dublin.

The massacre’s sole survivor, Alan Black, told the News Letter the recent meeting between the coroner and Irish officials on co-operation was “very disappointing”.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny met Mr Black in Bessbrook in March 2015 and promised all Republic of Ireland information on the atrocity would be shared with the inquest.

But Mr Black believes the Irish judiciary position last week is not living up to these promises.

“They seemed to say they have to legislate [to cooperate with the inquest] but how long is that going to take?” he asked.

The coroner has been writing to Dublin asking for co-operation since February 2015.

The inquest opened in June 2016, and is due to resume in May.

“Why can they not do what that [family] barrister says and volunteer [Gardai to attend]?” Mr Black asked.

“In the spirit of goodwill someone should come up.

“If our police went down to Dublin, why can they not come up here?”

Asked to comment, the Taoiseach’s office referred the matter to the Irish Department of Justice.

A spokesman said there is “an ongoing process of co-operation, by which the Garda authorities, with the support of the Chief State Solicitor, continue to seek to assist the Northern Ireland Coroner in his conduct of the inquest... to the fullest extent possible in accordance with the law”.

Asked why officers could not volunteer to attend the Belfast inquest, a spokeswoman for An Garda Siochana replied that it “is co-operating to the fullest possible extent with the inquest”.

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