The PSNI is probing links between the Kingsmills massacre and another major attack in south Armagh – as well as IRA man Raymond McCreesh.
The information was disclosed yesterday during a preliminary hearing in Belfast for the inquest for the Kingsmills massacre. The IRA shot dead 10 Protestant workmen as they drove home near Kingsmills in 1976.
Four months earlier three masked IRA men opened fire on Tullyvallen Orange Hall near Newtownhamilton, killing five men and injuring six.
Yesterday is the first time police have disclosed an active probe into the murder web.
Sean Doran QC for the coroner said the PSNI legacy unit is “supporting [the inquest] with intelligence material relating to the IRA attack on Tullyvallen Orange Hall in the months before the Kingsmills attack”.
Dr Tony McGleenan for the PSNI replied that it was “likely” that intelligence material regarding Tullyvallen will require public interest immunity certificates, which lawfully withhold information for public interest reasons. (Two suspects hold so-called on the run comfort letters).
He added that Deputy Chief Constable Drew Harris is to meet the PSNI Legacy Team about the Tullyvallen attack “and they are also working on the McCreesh case”, he said. “This is a significant task and significant resources are being devoted to it.”
IRA hunger striker Raymond McCreesh was arrested months after Kingsmills with a weapon used in the massacre. His name has caused international headlines in recent years after Newry and Mourne District Council named a children’s playground after him.
Also in yesterday’s hearing, Northern Ireland senior coroner John Leckey paid fulsome praise to Taoiseach Enda Kenny for public commitments this week to make all gardai files on Kingsmills available to the inquest. The attack was planned from Co Louth.
Mr Leckey said: “Having heard what the Taoiseach said yesterday it is very encouraging that there will be as much co-operation as possible and I am most grateful to the Taoiseach for that interjection.”
Mr Doran also said that the Assistant Gardai Commissioner, who had been in touch for several months, has collated all relevant files and will contact the coroner soon about disclosure.