Victims’ parade in Dublin ‘goes down to wire’

The Kingsmill memorial near Bessbrook, Co Armagh, in memory of 10 Protestant workmen killed by the IRA in the 1976 massacre
The Kingsmill memorial near Bessbrook, Co Armagh, in memory of 10 Protestant workmen killed by the IRA in the 1976 massacre

Negotiations over a terror victims parade in Dublin this month are set to go down to the wire, with organisers saying they are prepared to cancel it if the Irish government releases files it holds on the IRA to a Belfast coroner.

The victims are planning to hold the parade through Dublin on March 28 to highlight what they feel is a one-sided approach to dealing with the past by the Irish government.

A previous parade for victims in 2006 made international headlines when Dublin-based protestors attacked them.

As a case-study, the victims in 2015 are highlighting the failure of the Irish government to supply files to the Belfast coroner on IRA men behind in the 1976 Kingsmills massacre in south Armagh. The gunmen are understood to have been based in Co Louth.

The Irish Department of Justice confirmed to the News Letter that it is meeting parade organiser Willie Frazer of victims’ group FAIR on Monday about “victims issues”.

If the Irish government releases files it holds on the IRA to the Belfast coroner by March 27, Mr Frazer says they will call off the event.

“The Department of Justice in Dublin has sent me details of the meeting, saying it is about the inquest into the Kingsmills massacre and the Belfast coroner’s request for files the Irish government holds about the IRA men responsible,” he said.

“The next preliminary hearing for the inquest is on March 27. If the coroner tells us then that he has received the files he has been asking for over the past year, then the parade due to take place the next day is off. But if the officials reassure us they will send the files up but then they do not appear, there will be no more talking.

“We also want to talk to them about the linkage between the many other border killings by the same IRA gang. But if we are not happy with the outcome we will be coming back up and telling everyone ‘You see the Stormont House Agreement – you may forget about it; the Irish government has no intention of coming clean about what it was up to during the Troubles, the only people who will be held accountable will be the British Government and us in Northern Ireland’. So a lot rests on this meeting on Monday.”

Gardai told him they will “lock Dublin down” just as they did for the Queen’s historic visit in 2011.