Kingsmills Massacre victim: inquest should not be ‘terrorist led’

The brother of a man who was killed in the Kingsmills Massacre has said the inquest into the atrocity “shouldn’t be terrorist led”.

Colin Worton’s brother Kenneth was one of ten Protestant workmen who was gunned down by the IRA at Kingsmills in south Armagh in 1976.

May Quinn, sister of Kingsmill victim Rober Walker, attends a roadside service on Kingsmill road marking the 43rd anniversary of the shooting dead of 10 Protestant workmen by republicans at Kingsmill in South Armagh. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

May Quinn, sister of Kingsmill victim Rober Walker, attends a roadside service on Kingsmill road marking the 43rd anniversary of the shooting dead of 10 Protestant workmen by republicans at Kingsmill in South Armagh. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

At the inquest into the atrocity on Friday, Coroner Justice Brian Sherrard heard representation from stakeholders about the ongoing debate over whether the inquest should name two deceased suspects who had so called On-the-Run ‘comfort’ letters from government.

In the closing minutes of the hearing, Mr Sherrard made a fresh appeal for anyone who was involved operationally or organisationally in the atrocity to release information to the inquest to aid the families.

He specifically referred to the Birmingham Bombs inquest, to which IRA figures based in Dublin recently gave official sanction for the naming of suspects involved in those attacks. The Birmingham inquest proceeded to publish the names supplied by the IRA.

Mr Sherrard appealed to the IRA to do likewise for the Kingsmills families, noting he has appealed to the IRA many times before to help.

Events at the Birmingham inquest had given him “some hope” that the same thing would happen for the Kingsmills families, he said.

“I am at a loss as to why those that were involved would not be willing to try the same approach for this inquest.”

Speaking outside afterwards, Colin Worton said he believed the inquest should be naming Kingsmills suspects regardless of what republicans might do. “Yes they should,” he told the News Letter. “It shouldn’t be terrorist led, this inquiry.”

Explaining his comments, he added: “We shouldn’t be beholden on them [the IRA]. The security forces know each and every one that took part.”

During the hearing, counsel for the coroner Sean Doran QC noted that Dublin authorities stated in July that a bill allowing the coroner to travel south to quizz Garda was to be advanced in September 2018, but that there was no news of any developments since then.

Counsel for some of the families, Alan Kane QC said that his clients now refused to submit any further written questions about the massacre to the Dublin authorities as they felt this was only taking the focus off the lack of progress on the bill.

The Irish Department of Justice told the News Letter afterwards that drafting of the bill is at “a very advanced stage” and it is expected to be published “very soon.”

Mr Kane also expressed frustration at the lack of progress from Northern Ireland Office (NIO) officials in providing a witness to provide evidence on the On-The-Run letters scheme, the inquest having written to the NIO about the matter in February.

“The Secretary of State is responsible for the NIO and should make it her business to intervene to make sure of their cooperation with the inquest rather than officials simply paying lip service to doing so,” he said.