‘Thin’ Dublin Kingsmills evidence shocks inquest campaigners

Irish premier Enda Kenny met Kingsmills families in March, but they are disappointed by the evidence his government has released
Irish premier Enda Kenny met Kingsmills families in March, but they are disappointed by the evidence his government has released

Campaigners for the Kingsmills massacre inquest have expressed shock that after over a year-and-a-half of pressure, the Irish government’s much awaited disclosure to the process is primarily made up of 60 pages of newspaper clippings.

The IRA shot dead 10 textile workers by the side of a road near Bessbrook in 1976.

The families had pressed for an inquest, which has suffered significant delays partly due to the lack of disclosure by Dublin. The attackers used Co Louth as their base of operations.

Victims’ campaigner Willie Frazer said the Kingsmills families “are very unhappy” with the contents of the file now released by Dublin.

“It is 90 pages long, 60 of which are made up of newspaper clippings,” he said.

“The other 30 pages are about an IRA man who was arrested in the south, but no linkages are provided to anyone else nor is there any information about what happened to his weapon.

“Overall, nothing has been provided that is not already in the public domain. Clearly promises mean nothing to the Republic of Ireland.”

He had planned a major victims parade in Dublin in February to put pressure on Dublin to come clean on files it holds about the attack, but called it off at the last minute after assurances that files were about to be released.

“The next time we organise a Dublin parade there will be no calling it off,” he said.

“This gives no confidence that Dublin will make full disclosure under the Stormont House Agreement (SHA) about its role in the creation of PIRA.”

Belfast solicitors KRW Law, acting for some of the Kingsmills families, said that it continues to press Dublin for disclosure.

The firm said the coroner described the folder released by Dublin as “thin”.

“On examination of this folder KRW Law observed the lack of meaningful material which would assist the inquest into the murders at Kingsmills,” he added.

A spokesman for the Republic of Ireland Department of Justice responded that there had been legal difficulties in making disclosures to the UK authorities which had been overcome by new data protection regulations and a directive by the Irish Minister for Justice under the Garda Síochána Act, 2005.

“The government also formally agreed that as much information as possible, in accordance with law, should be provided to the inquest ... the Garda authorities’ co-operation with the Northern Ireland coroner is part of an ongoing legal process and they will continue to work with the coroner in this regard to support the inquest.”

Patrick Corrigan of Amnesty International has previously expressed concern that the UK Government may not offer full disclosure on the past under the SHA.

He said the UK “must drop [a] proposed veto over disclosure of crucial evidence by the [proposed] Historical Investigations Unit on ‘national security’ grounds”.