Kyle Paisley to meet Eugene Reavey on Kingsmills

Eugene Reavey
Eugene Reavey

A son of the late Rev Ian Paisley is to meet a man his father accused of being complicit in the Kingsmills massacre.

In 1999, the former DUP leader used parliamentary privilege to name Eugene Reavey as being involved in the IRA atrocity.

In 1976 the IRA gunned down ten Protestant workmen in near Kingsmills in south Armagh as they travelled home from work.

The night before the murders loyalist gunmen burst into the Reavey home in nearby Whitecross and opened fire, killing Eugene’s brothers John Martin, Brian and Anthony.

In spite of calls for no retaliation from the Reavey family, the following day the IRA stopped the minibus at nearby Kingsmills and shot dead 10 of them.

Mr Reavey said being wrongly accused of complicity in the Kingsmills attack was a terrible stigma.

“It was a terrible slur especially since my brothers and some of the boys killed (at Kingsmills) were very friendly,” he said.

“It finished off my cattle breeding business. Some of the people I had known for 25 years or more just turned their backs on me and walked away.”

Last year, he wrote to Rev Ian Paisley’s son Kyle Paisley, a minister at Oulton Broad Free Presbyterian Church in Suffolk, asking for a meeting.

He received a reply earlier this year.

“I was following Kyle’s comments on certain aspects of the Troubles and I wrote to him and explained the hurt that had been caused to me and my mother,” Mr Reavey told the BBC.

“He has agreed to meet me and I want to see what he has to say. When you sit down face-to-face with a man you getter a better feel for him.”

Asked if he would ask for an apology, he said: “I don’t want to pre-empt what is going to happen.

“The most important thing is that he is meeting me and we will have a chat and see how it develops.”

Kyle Paisley told the BBC: “I replied to his letter and said that I would be happy to meet with him and have a conversation on a personal level.”

“I feel the meeting will take place a little further down the line. Let it take its natural course. I have his number and contact details.”

Speaking in Parliament in 1999 Rev Ian Paisley MP used what he said was “a carefully prepared police dossier” to name local men allegedly involved in the massacre. The Historical Enquiries Team found his comments were “almost verbatim quotes from compiled UDR intelligence material” and did not query the integrity of the document. However it added that Rev Paisley’s use of it “highlights the dangers of confusing information with valid intelligence”.

Former RUC Chief Constable Ronnie Flanagan denied it was a police document but HET said it could be described as such as it was among original police papers.

After meeting Mr Reavey and another man named by Rev Paisley, Sir Ronnie said: “We have no evidence whatsoever to connect them with the Kingsmill massacre and there are no outstanding matters that we would intend to interview these gentlemen about.”

After reviewing the case HET also decided not to interview Mr Reavey about Kingsmills.

Eugene Reavey was speaking as part of a BBC broadcast ‘If Truth Be Told’ which will be broadcast on BBC Radio Ulster on Sunday at 12:30 BST.