Kingsmills survivor: Fight for justice will go on after my death, if it has to

Alan Black
Alan Black

The only survivor of the Kingsmills massacre has vowed the fight to establish why no one has ever faced justice will continue beyond his own lifetime.

Alan Black said: “I have a promise from my kids that if anything happens to me that they will carry on with it. I don’t want to hand it down to another generation, but if it has to be handed down then handed down it will be.

Kingsmill massacre survivor Alan Black. Picture: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Kingsmill massacre survivor Alan Black. Picture: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

“All we want are answers, and truthful answers.”

He was speaking as it was announced that writs had been served on the Chief Constable and Secretary of State by victims who are seeking damages over investigative and procedural failings.

Mr Black said he has been let down so many times he no longer has any faith that the PSNI or Department of Justice will ensure justice is done.

“I have absolutely no trust in the hierarchy of the PSNI. Not the ordinary officers but the hierarchy. Absolutely none, zero. I don’t care what they say anymore, I just don’t trust them.

“It is very, very frustrating. You seem to be getting somewhere, and everything seems to be going well, but then we hear that it’s all to do with the justice department and money.”

Mr Black said successive chief constables have lacked the will to properly investigate the atrocity.

“They carried out two reviews in 87 and 96 and found no new evidence. Then a bunch of Englishmen [from HET] flew in and exposed discrepancies in the investigation, leads not followed up, suspects allowed to continue on their way through airports. How does that work? What faith can we have?

“The effort put in to cover up the Kingsmills story has been unbelievable. If they put the same effort into investigating it then we would have had closure years ago.

“They think they can tramp on us any time they want, but we will keep crawling out from under their feet,” he added.

The murder of the 10 Protestant workmen at Kingsmills took place after a gang of IRA gunmen flagged down their minibus on a country road in south Armagh.

Having established the religion of each of the men, the sole Catholic passenger was released before the gunmen riddled the others with bullets from automatic rifles.

Alan Black was left for dead but survived. He will be the main witness when the inquest gets underway on September 11.

Earlier this year a PSNI report revealed that some of IRA men responsible for the murders were neighbours of some of the victims.

The “intelligence synopsis” by the PSNI’s Historical Enquiries Team (HET) reveals that some of those responsible were from the IRA’s active service unit (ASU) based in the nearby village of Whitecross – just over a mile from the village of Bessbrook where many of the victims lived.

The HET document, which was obtained by the News Letter, concluded by saying a large team of terrorists were responsible which included “members of the Newry ASU, Whitecross ASU and a number of on-the-runs based in the Republic of Ireland”.

A planned walk by relatives of the victims – retracing the final journey of the workmen through Whitecross – failed to get off the ground after facing strong opposition from residents in the village and local Sinn Fein representatives.

The HET synopsis said intelligence agencies had named 11 individuals for the Kingsmills attack. The weapons involved were also used in 39 other murders and 22 attempted murders by republicans in south Down and south Armagh.

Three Catholic brothers from the Reavey family were shot dead by the UVF in Whitecross the day before Kingsmills. There has been speculation over the years that the Kingsmills massacre was a revenge attack, however, the HET reported in 2011 that the IRA attack was clearly planned “some time before” the 10 workmen were shot. The report branded the Kingsmills murders “sectarian savagery”.

In August 2013, the family of victim John McConville learned that Attorney General John Larkin had directed a new inquest after months of correspondence with the family and their representatives.

In a letter, Mr Larkin said the relatives of the ten victims, along with the wider public, were “entitled to know how, and in what circumstances,” the murders occurred.