Tag Archives: Kingsmill massacre

Castlerock Killings – 25th March 1993

Castlerock Killings

castrock map.PNG

25th March 1993

The Castlerock killings took place on 25 March 1993 in the village of CastlerockCounty LondonderryNorthern Ireland. Members of the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), a loyalist paramilitary group, shot dead three civilians and a Provisional Irish Republican Army volunteer as they arrived for work. Another was wounded. The men were all Catholics.

The five men were builders and had been renovating houses in the Gortree Park housing estate for some months. As they arrived in their van at Gortree Park, at least two gunmen jumped out of another van and opened fire.

— Disclaimer –

The views and opinions expressed in this post/documentaries  are soley intended to educate and provide background information to those interested in the Troubles of Northern Ireland. They in no way reflect my own opinions and I take no responsibility for any inaccuracies or factual errors.

 Those killed were James McKenna (52), Gerard Dalrymple (58), Noel O’Kane (20) and Provisional IRA volunteer James Kelly (25).

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25 March 1993


James Kelly,   (25)

Catholic
Status: Irish Republican Army (IRA),

Killed by: Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF)
Shot during gun attack on van, as he arrived at his workplace, renovating houses, Gortree Park, Castlerock, County Derry.

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25 March 1993
 James McKenna,  (52)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF)
Shot during gun attack on van, as he arrived at his workplace, renovating houses, Gortree Park, Castlerock, County Derry.

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25 March 1993


Gerard Dalrymple,  (58)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF)
Shot during gun attack on van, as he arrived at his workplace, renovating houses, Gortree Park, Castlerock, County Derry.

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25 March 1993
Noel O’Kane,  (20)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF)
Shot during gun attack on van, as he arrived at his workplace, renovating houses, Gortree Park, Castlerock, County Derry.

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castle rock 2.PNG

The gunmen drove off toward Castlerock before doing a U-turn and passing their victims again. The van used by the gunmen was found burnt-out two miles from the attack.

Later in the day, the UDA shot dead a Catholic civilian Damian Walsh and wounded another at Dairy Farm Shopping Centre in Belfast.

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25 March 1993


Damian Walsh,   (17)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF)
Shot at his workplace, Dairy Farm Shopping Centre, Twinbrook, Belfast.

See: 25th March – Deaths & Events in Northern Ireland Troubles

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The UDA claimed responsibility for the attack using the covername “Ulster Freedom Fighters” (UFF) and said the men were republicans.

 Sinn Féin councillor Patsy Groogan said the men were regularly stopped and harassed by the security forces and that he had:

“no doubt that this behaviour played a part in targeting these men for assassination”.

The weapons were later used by the same gang in carrying out the Halloween Greysteel massacre at the Rising Sun pub on 31 October 1993. It has been claimed that one of the gang was a double agent and protected by RUC Special Branch.

Related image
Torrens Knight

Torrens Knight received eight life sentences for the Greysteel massacre, together with four more for the Castlerock killings. He served seven years in the Maze Prison before paramilitary prisoners were granted a general release under the Belfast Agreement.

 

See:  The Kingsmill Massacre – 5 January 1976

See: 25th March – Deaths & Events in Northern Ireland Troubles

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Robert Nairac – Undercover Soldier & Hero His Capture & Death

Robert Nairac
Robert Nairac.jpg
Robert Nairac
Robert Nairac in his Grenadier Guards uniform
Born (1948-08-31)31 August 1948
Mauritius
Died 15 May 1977(1977-05-15) (aged 28)
Republic of Ireland
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch Flag of the British Army.svgBritish Army
Years of service 1972 – 1977
Rank Captain
Unit Grenadier Guards
Battles/wars Operation Banner
Awards George Cross

The views and opinions expressed in this page and  documentaries are soley intended to educate and provide background information to those interested in the Troubles of Northern Ireland. They in no way reflect my own opinions and I take no responsibility for any inaccuracies or factual errors

BBC Panorama – Bandit Country, South Armagh

Captain Robert Laurence Nairac

31 August 1948 –15 May 1977

Captain Robert Laurence Nairac GC (31 August 1948 –15 May 1977) was a British Army officer who was abducted from a pub in Dromintee, south County Armagh, during an undercover operation and killed by the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) on his fourth tour of duty in Northern Ireland as a Military Intelligence Liaison Officer. He was posthumously awarded the George Cross in 1979.

A number of claims have been made about both Nairac’s involvement in the killing of an IRA member and his collusion with loyalist paramilitaries, although he was never charged.[1]

Whilst several men have been imprisoned for his death, the whereabouts of his body remains unknown.

Background

Nairac was born in Mauritius to English parents. His family – long settled in Gloucestershire – had ancestors from the south of Ireland.[2] His family name originates from the Gironde area of France. His father was an eye surgeon who worked first in the north of England and then in Gloucester. He was the youngest of four children, with two sisters and a brother.[3]

Nairac, aged 10, attended prep school at Gilling Castle, a feeder school for the Roman Catholic public school Ampleforth College which he attended a year later. He gained nine O levels and three A levels, was head of his house and played rugby for the school. He became friends with the sons of Lord Killanin and went to stay with the family in Dublin and Spiddal in County Galway.[4]

He read medieval and military history at Lincoln College, Oxford, and excelled in sport; he played for the Oxford rugby 2nd XV and revived the Oxford boxing club where he won four blues in bouts with Cambridge. He was also a falconer, keeping a bird in his room which was used in the film Kes.[5

]

He left Oxford in 1971 to enter Royal Military Academy Sandhurst under the sponsorship of the Grenadier Guards and was commissioned with them upon graduation.[6][7][8] After Sandhurst he undertook post-graduate studies at the University of Dublin, before joining his regiment.[9]

Nairac has been described by former army colleagues as “a committed Roman Catholic”[10] and as having “a strong Catholic belief”.[11]

Military career in Northern Ireland

Nairac’s first tour of duty in Northern Ireland was with No.1 Company, the Second Battalion of the Grenadier Guards. The Battalion was stationed in Belfast from 5 July 1973 to 31 October 1973. The Grenadiers were given responsibility first for the Protestant Shankill Road area and then the predominantly Catholic Ardoyne area. This was a time of high tension and regular contacts with paramilitaries. Ostensibly, the battalion’s two main objectives were to search for weapons and to find paramilitaries. Nairac was frequently involved in such activity on the streets of Belfast. He was also a volunteer in community relations activities in the Ardoyne sports club. The battalion’s tour was adjudged a success with 58 weapons, 9,000 rounds of ammunition and 693 lbs of explosive taken and 104 men jailed.

The battalion took no casualties and had no occasion to shoot anyone. After his tour had ended he stayed on as liaison officer for the replacement battalion, the 1st Battalion of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. The new battalion suffered a baptism of fire with Nairac narrowly avoiding death on their first patrol when a car bomb exploded on the Crumlin Road.[12]

Rather than returning to his battalion, which was due for rotation to Hong Kong, Nairac volunteered for military intelligence duties in Northern Ireland. Following completion of several training courses, he returned to Northern Ireland in 1974 attached to 4 Field Survey Troop, Royal Engineers, one of the three sub-units of a Special Duties unit known as 14 Intelligence Company (14 Int). Posted to South County Armagh, 4 Field Survey Troop was given the task of performing surveillance duties. Nairac was the liaison officer among the unit, the local British Army brigade, and the Royal Ulster Constabulary.[13]

He also took on duties which were outside his official jurisdiction as a liaison officer – working undercover, for example. He apparently claimed to have visited pubs in republican strongholds and sung Irish rebel songs and acquired the nickname “Danny Boy”. He was often driven to pubs by former Conservative[14] MP Patrick Mercer, who was then an Army officer.[15] Former SAS Warrant Officer Ken Connor, who was involved in the creation of 14 Int, wrote of him in his book, Ghost Force, p. 263:

Had he been an SAS member, he would not have been allowed to operate in the way he did. Before his death we had been very concerned at the lack of checks on his activities. No one seemed to know who his boss was, and he appeared to have been allowed to get out of control, deciding himself what tasks he would do.

Nairac finished his tour with 14th Int in mid-1975 and returned to his regiment in London. Nairac was promoted to captain on 4 September 1975.[16] Following a rise in violence culminating in the Kingsmill massacre, British Army troop levels were increased and Nairac accepted a post again as a liaison officer back in Northern Ireland.

Nairac on his fourth tour was a liaison officer to the units based at Bessbrook Mill. It was during this time that he was abducted and killed.

Shot by the Provisional IRA

On the evening of 14 May 1977, Nairac arrived at The Three Steps pub in Dromintee, South Armagh, by car, alone. He is said to have told regulars of the pub that his name was Danny McErlaine, a motor mechanic and member of the Official IRA from the republican Ardoyne area in north Belfast. The real McErlaine, on the run since 1974, was killed by the Provisional IRA in June 1978 after stealing arms from the organisation.[17]

Witnesses say that Nairac got up and sang a republican folk songThe Broad Black Brimmer” with the band who were playing that night. At around 11.45 p.m., he was abducted following a struggle in the pub’s car park and taken across the border into the Republic of Ireland to a field in the Ravensdale Woods in County Louth. Following a violent interrogation during which Nairac was allegedly punched, kicked, pistol-whipped and hit with a wooden post, he was shot dead.[18]

He did not admit to his true identity. Terry McCormick, one of Nairac’s abductors, posed as a priest in order to try to elicit information by way of Nairac’s confession. Nairac’s last words according to McCormick were: ‘Bless me Father, for I have sinned’.[19]

His disappearance sparked a huge search effort throughout Ireland. The hunt in Northern Ireland was led by Major H. Jones, who as a colonel in the Parachute Regiment was to be awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross in the Falklands War. Jones was Brigade Major at HQ 3rd Infantry Brigade. Nairac and Jones had become friends and would sometimes go to the Jones household for supper. After a four-day search, the Garda Síochána confirmed to the Royal Ulster Constabulary that they had reliable evidence of Nairac’s killing.[20]

An edition of Spotlight broadcast on 19 June 2007, claimed that his body was not destroyed in a meat grinder, as alleged by an unnamed IRA source.[21] McCormick, who has been on the run in the United States for thirty years because of his involvement in the killing (including being the first to attack Nairac in the car park), was told by a senior IRA commander that it was buried on farmland, unearthed by animals, and reburied elsewhere. The location of the body’s resting place remains a mystery.[22] Nairac is one of nine IRA victims, whose graves have never been revealed and who are collectively known as ‘The Disappeared’. The cases are under review by the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains.

In May 2000 allegations were made claiming that Nairac had married, and fathered a child with a woman named Nel Lister, also known as Oonagh Flynn or Oonagh Lister. In 2001, her son sought DNA testing himself and revealed the allegations to be a hoax.[23][24]

Criminal prosecutions

In November 1977, Liam Townson, a 24-year-old IRA member from the village of Meigh outside Newry, was convicted of Nairac’s murder. Townson was the son of an Englishman who had married a County Meath woman. He confessed to killing Nairac and implicated other members of the unit involved. Townson made two admissible confessions to Garda officers. The first was made around the time of his arrest, it started with

“I shot the British captain. He never told us anything. He was a great soldier.”

The second statement was made at Dundalk police station after Townson had consulted a solicitor. He had become hysterical and distressed and screamed a confession to the officer in charge of the investigation.[25]

Townson was convicted in Dublin’s Special Criminal Court of Nairac’s murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. He served 13 years in prison and was released in 1990. He was part of Conor Murphy‘s 1998 election campaign team and as of 2000 he was living in St. Moninna Park, in Meigh.[26]

In 1978, the RUC arrested five men from the South Armagh area. Three of them – Gerard Fearon, 21, Thomas Morgan, 18, and Daniel O’Rourke, 33 -were charged with Nairac’s murder. Michael McCoy, 20, was charged with kidnapping, and Owen Rocks, 22, was accused of withholding information. Fearon and Morgan were convicted of Nairac’s murder. O’Rourke was acquitted but found guilty of manslaughter and jailed for ten years. McCoy was jailed for five years and Rocks for two. Morgan died in a road accident in 1987, a year after his release. O’Rourke became a prominent Sinn Féin member in Drumintee.

Two other men, Terry McCormick and Pat Maguire, wanted in connection with this incident remain on the run.[27] Maguire has been reported as living in New Jersey in the US.[28]

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Man charged with murder of undercover British Army officer in 1977

A man has been charged with the murder of Robert Nairac, an undercover British Army officer, in Northern Ireland more than 30 years ago

Kevin Crilly: Man charged with murder of undercover British Army officer in 1977

Crilly was interviewed by detectives in the weeks after the incident but left for the United States before officers could arrest him on suspicion of murder Photo: PA

Kevin Crilly, 59, from Lower Foughill Road, Jonesborough, Co Armagh, is already facing charges of kidnapping and falsely imprisoning the 29-year-old Grenadier Guardsman near the Irish border in 1977.

The captain, originally from Gloucestershire, was interrogated, tortured and then shot dead by the IRA after being snatched from a pub car park near Jonesborough and driven to a field at Ravensdale, Co Louth. His body has never been found.

Prosecutors laid the murder charge before Crilly as he appeared at Newry Magistrates’ Court for a routine bail hearing on the two lesser counts, with which he was charged last year.

District Judge Austin Kennedy granted Crilly bail; however, he ordered him to remain in custody after Crown lawyers indicated that they may seek to appeal against the decision in the High Court in Belfast.

In the years after Capt Nairac’s disappearance, three men were convicted of his murder, but police have always said they were looking for more suspects.

Crilly was interviewed by detectives in the weeks after the incident but left for the United States before officers could arrest him on suspicion of murder.

Judge Kennedy was told today that the suspect had remained in the US for almost 30 years.

Investigating officer Detective Sergeant Barry Graham said that, when he returned, he took another name, explaining that Crilly was adopted as a child and had assumed his birth name of Declan Parr.

“The only reason he returned to Northern Ireland was because he was in a long-term relationship in America and that relationship had broken down,” he said.

The officer told the judge that he could connect Crilly with the murder charge and the two other counts of kidnapping and false imprisonment.

Crilly, dressed in a black leather jacket, white check shirt and blue jeans, spoke only to acknowledge that he understood the charges that he was facing.

His defence team objected that the prosecution had given them no prior warning that the murder charge would be put to their client or that they would be objecting to his bail.

Noting that Crilly had complied with all bail requirements since his original arrest 18 months ago and pointing out that, at that point, the defendant was aware that the Public Prosecution Service was examining whether there were grounds for charging him with murder, Judge Kennedy rejected the prosecution objection to bail.

The magistrate said any appeal against his decision would have to be lodged within two hours. He ordered that Crilly was held in the cells until the PPS signalled its intentions.

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On 20 May 2008, 57-year-old IRA veteran Kevin Crilly of Jonesborough, County Armagh, was arrested at his home by officers of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI). He had been on the run in the United States but had returned to Northern Ireland under an alias after the 1998 Belfast Agreement. He was charged the following day with the kidnapping and false imprisonment of Nairac.[29] In November 2009, Crilly was also charged with the murder of Robert Nairac at Newry magistrates’ court during a bail hearing on the two counts on which he had been charged in 2008.[30] Crilly was cleared on all counts in April 2011 as the Judge considered that the prosecution failed to prove intention or prior knowledge on the part of Crilly.[31]

Nairac’s killing is one of those under investigation by the PSNI’s Historical Enquiries Team (HET).[32]

George Cross award

On 13 February 1979 Nairac was posthumously awarded the George Cross.

Captain Nairac’s posthumous George Cross citation reads, in part:[33]

[…]On his fourth tour Captain Nairac was a Liaison Officer at Headquarters 3 Infantry Brigade. His task was connected with surveillance operations.

On the night of 14/15 May 1977 Captain Nairac was abducted from a village in South Armagh by at least seven men. Despite his fierce resistance he was overpowered and taken across the border into the nearby Republic of Ireland where he was subjected to a succession of exceptionally savage assaults in an attempt to extract information which would have put other lives and future operations at serious risk. These efforts to break Captain Nairac’s will failed entirely. Weakened as he was in strength – though not in spirit – by the brutality, he yet made repeated and spirited attempts to escape, but on each occasion was eventually overpowered by the weight of the numbers against him. After several hours in the hands of his captors Captain Nairac was callously murdered by a gunman of the Provisional Irish Republican Army who had been summoned to the scene. His assassin subsequently said ‘He never told us anything’.

Captain Nairac’s exceptional courage and acts of the greatest heroism in circumstances of extreme peril showed devotion to duty and personal courage second to none.

Collusion allegations

Claims have been made abouts Nairac’s involvement in the killing of an IRA member in the Republic of Ireland and his relationship with Ulster loyalist paramilitaries.

Hidden Hand documentary

Dublin Monaghan Bombings 1974 – First Tuesday -1993

Allegations were made concerning Nairac in a 1993 Yorkshire Television documentary about the Dublin and Monaghan Bombings of 1974 entitled Hidden Hand. The narrator of Hidden Hand states:

We have evidence from police, military and loyalist sources which confirms the links between Nairac and the Portadown loyalist paramilitaries. And also that in May 1974, he was meeting with these paramilitaries, supplying them with arms and helping them plan acts of terrorism against republican targets. In particular, the three prime Dublin suspects, Robert McConnell, Harris Boyle and the man called ‘The Jackal’ (Robin Jackson, Ulster Volunteer Force [UVF] member from Lurgan), were run before and after the Dublin bombings by Captain Nairac.

According to the documentary, support for this allegation was said to have come from various sources:

They include officers from RUC Special Branch, CID and Special Patrol Group; officers from the Gardaí Special Branch; and key senior loyalists who were in charge of the County Armagh paramilitaries of the day….

Holroyd

It was alleged by a former Secret Intelligence Service operative, Captain Fred Holroyd, that Nairac admitted involvement in the assassination of IRA member John Francis Green on 10 January 1975 to him. Holroyd claimed in a New Statesman article written by Duncan Campbell that Nairac had boasted about Green’s death and showed him a colour Polaroid photograph of Green’s corpse taken directly after his assassination.[34]

These claims were given prominence when, in 1987, Ken Livingstone MP told the House of Commons that Nairac was quite likely to have been the person who organised the killing of three Miami Showband musicians.[35]

The Barron Report stated that:

The evidence before the Inquiry that the polaroid photograph allegedly taken by the killers after the murder was actually taken by a Garda officer on the following morning seriously undermines the evidence that Nairac himself had been involved in the shooting.

Holroyd’s evidence was also questioned by Barron in the following terms:

The picture derived from this is of a man increasingly frustrated with the failure of the British Authorities to take his claims seriously; who saw the threat to reveal a crossborder SAS assassination as perhaps his only remaining weapon in the fight to secure a proper review of his own case. His allegations concerning Nairac must be read with that in mind.[36]

Barron report

Nairac was mentioned in Justice Henry’ Barron’s inquiry into the Dublin and Monaghan bombings when it examined the claims made by the Hidden Hand documentary, Holroyd and Colin Wallace

Former RUC Special Patrol Group member John Weir, who was also a UVF member, claimed he had received information from an informant that Nairac was involved in the killing of Green:[37]

The men who did that shooting were Robert McConnell, Robin Jackson and I would be almost certain, Harris Boyle who was killed in the Miami attack. What I am absolutely certain of is that Robert McConnell, Robert McConnell knew that area really, really well. Robin Jackson was with him. I was later told that Nairac was with them. I was told by… a UVF man, he was very close to Jackson and operated with him. Jackson told [him] that Nairac was with them.

In addition, “Surviving Miami Showband members Steve Travers and Des McAlee testified in court that an Army officer with a crisp English accent oversaw the Miami attack” (see Miami Showband killings), the implication being that this was Nairac.[38] Fred Holroyd and John Weir also linked Nairac to the Green and Miami Showband killings. Martin Dillon, however, in his book The Dirty War maintained that Nairac was not involved in either attack.[39]

Colin Wallace, in describing Nairac as a Military Intelligence Liaison Officer (MILO) said “his duties did not involve agent handling”. Nevertheless, Nairac “seems to have had close links with the Mid-Ulster UVF, including Robin Jackson and Harris Boyle”. According to Wallace, “he could not have carried out this open association without official approval, because otherwise he would have been transferred immediately from Northern Ireland” [40] Wallace wrote in 1975; Nairac was on his fourth tour of duty in 1977.

Robin Jackson was implicated in the Dublin and Monaghan bombings of May 1974, and Harris Boyle was blown up by his own bomb during the Miami Showband massacre.

The Barron Inquiry found a chain of ballistic history linking weapons and killings under the control of a group of UVF and security force members, including RUC Special Patrol Group members John Weir and Billy McCaughey, that is connected to those alleged to have carried out the bombings. This group was known as the “Glenanne gang“. Incidents they were responsible for “included, in 1975, three murders at Donnelly’s bar in Silverbridge, the murders of two men at a fake Ulster Defence Regiment checkpoint, the murder of IRA man John Francis Green in the Republic, the murders of members of the Miami showband and the murder of Dorothy Trainor in Portadown in 1976, they included the murders of three members of the Reavey family, and the attack on the Rock Bar in Tassagh.”[41] According to Weir, members of the gang began to suspect that Nairac was playing republican and loyalist paramilitaries off against each other, by feeding them information about murders carried out by the “other side” with the intention of “provoking revenge attacks”.[42]

The Pat Finucane Centre stated when investigating allegations of collusion between the security forces and loyalist paramilitaries, that although Nairac has been linked to many attacks, “caution has to be taken when dealing with Nairac as attacks are sometimes attributed to him purely because of his reputation”.[43]

See Forkhil – Bandit Country

See The Disappeared

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The Kingsmill Massacre – 5 January 1976

Kingsmill Massacre

IRA murders 10 innocent Protestants.

The Kingsmill massacre occurred on January 5, 1976 when ten Protestant men were killed just outside the village of Kingsmill in south Armagh, Northern Ireland by Irish republicans IRA.

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The Kingsmill massacre was one of the worst single incidents in a period of severe sectarian violence during the Troubles, in Northern Ireland.

January 5, 1976, a Ford Transit mini-bus carried Protestant textile workers travelling home from work. The Provisional IRA South Armagh Brigade stopped the van and shot the men in cold blood with Armalite rifles, SLRs, a 9mm pistol and an M1 carbine, a total of 136 rounds were fired in less than a minute. No one was ever charged in relation to the Kingsmill killings.

The Kingsmill massacre took place on 5 January 1976 near the village of Kingsmill in south County Armagh, Northern Ireland. Gunmen stopped a minibus carrying eleven Protestant workmen, lined them up beside it and then shot them. Only one of them survived, despite having been shot 18 times.[1] A group calling itself the South Armagh Republican Action Force claimed responsibility. It said the shooting was retaliation for a string of attacks on Catholic civilians in the area by Loyalists, particularly the killing of six Catholics the night before.[2][3] The Kingsmill massacre was the climax of a string of tit-for-tat killings in the area during the mid-1970s, and was one of the deadliest mass shootings of the Troubles.

A 2011 report by the Historical Enquiries Team (HET) found that members of the Provisional IRA carried out the attack, despite the organisation being on ceasefire. It has been claimed that the IRA members acted without the sanction of the IRA Army Council. The HET report said that the men were targeted because they were Protestants[4][5][6] and that, although it was a response to the night before, it had been planned in advance.[6] The weapons used were linked to 110 other attacks.[7]

Following the massacre, the British government declared County Armagh to be a “Special Emergency Area” and hundreds of extra troops and police were deployed in the area. It also announced that the Special Air Service (SAS) was being moved into South Armagh. This was the first time that SAS presence in Northern Ireland was officially acknowledged.

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The Victims

Alan Black the only survivor of the massacre

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05 January 1976


John McConville,   (20)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Republican Action Force (RepAF)
Shot shortly after his firm’s minibus stopped at bogus vehicle check point while travelling home from work, Kingsmills, near Bessbrook, County Armagh.

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05 January 1976


Walter Chapman,   (23)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Republican Action Force (RepAF)
Shot shortly after his firm’s minibus stopped at bogus vehicle check point while travelling home from work, Kingsmills, near Bessbrook, County Armagh.

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05 January 1976


Reginald Chapman, (25)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Republican Action Force (RepAF)
Shot shortly after his firm’s minibus stopped at bogus vehicle check point while travelling home from work, Kingsmills, near Bessbrook, County Armagh.

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05 January 1976

Joseph Lemmon,   (46)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ)

Killed by: Republican Action Force (RepAF)
Shot shortly after his firm’s minibus stopped at bogus vehicle check point while travelling home from work, Kingsmills, near Bessbrook, County Armagh.

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05 January 1976


James McWhirter,   (58)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Republican Action Force (RepAF)
Shot shortly after his firm’s minibus stopped at bogus vehicle check point while travelling home from work, Kingsmills, near Bessbrook, County Armagh.

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05 January 1976


Kenneth Worton,   (24)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Republican Action Force (RepAF)
Shot shortly after his firm’s minibus stopped at bogus vehicle check point while travelling home from work, Kingsmills, near Bessbrook, County Armagh.

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05 January 1976


Robert Chambers,  (19)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Republican Action Force (RepAF)
Shot shortly after his firm’s minibus stopped at bogus vehicle check point while travelling home from work, Kingsmills, near Bessbrook, County Armagh.

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05 January 1976


John Bryans,   (46)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Republican Action Force (RepAF)
Shot shortly after his firm’s minibus stopped at bogus vehicle check point while travelling home from work, Kingsmills, near Bessbrook, County Armagh

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05 January 1976


Robert Freeburn,  (50)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Republican Action Force (RepAF)
Shot shortly after his firm’s minibus stopped at bogus vehicle check point while travelling home from work, Kingsmills, near Bessbrook, County Armagh.

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05 January 1976


Robert Walker,   (46)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Republican Action Force (RepAF)
Shot shortly after his firm’s minibus stopped at bogus vehicle check point while travelling home from work, Kingsmills, near Bessbrook, County Armagh.

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Survivor

Alan Black

Background

On 10 February 1975, the Provisional IRA and British government entered into a truce and restarted negotiations. The IRA agreed to halt attacks on the British security forces, and the security forces mostly ended its raids and searches.[8] However, there were dissenters on both sides. Some Provisionals wanted no part of the truce, while British commanders resented being told to stop their operations against the IRA just when—they claimed—they had the Provisionals on the run.[8] The security forces boosted their intelligence offensive during the truce and thoroughly infiltrated the IRA.[8]

There was a rise in sectarian killings during the truce, which ‘officially’ lasted until February 1976. Loyalists, fearing they were about to be forsaken by the British government and forced into a united Ireland,[9] increased their attacks on Irish Catholics/nationalists. Loyalists killed 120 Catholics in 1975, the vast majority civilians.[10] They hoped to force the IRA to retaliate and thus hasten an end to the truce.[10] Under orders not to engage the security forces, some IRA units concentrated on tackling the loyalists. The fall-off of regular operations had caused serious problems of internal discipline and some IRA members, with or without permission from higher up, engaged in tit-for-tat killings.[8] Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) members, and current or former members of the Official IRA, were also involved.[8]

Between the beginning of the truce (10 February 1975) and the Kingsmill massacre, loyalist paramilitaries killed 25 Catholic civilians in County Armagh and just over the border in County Louth.[11][12] In that same period, republican paramilitaries killed 14 Protestant civilians and 16 members of the security forces in County Armagh.[11]

  • On 1 September, five Protestant civilians were killed by masked gunmen at Tullyvallan Orange Hall near Newtownhamilton. The attack was claimed by a group calling itself the “South Armagh Republican Action Force”.[11] This was the first time the name had been used.
  • On 19 December, loyalists detonated a car bomb at Kay’s Tavern in Dundalk, a few miles across the Irish border. No warning was given beforehand and two civilians were killed.[11] Later that day, three Catholic civilians were killed and six were wounded in a gun and grenade attack on Donnelly’s Bar in Silverbridge. The “Red Hand Commandos” claimed responsibility for both attacks.[11] Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officers investigating the attack said they believed the culprits included an RUC officer and a British soldier from the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR).[13]
  • On 31 December, three Protestant civilians were killed in an explosion at the Central Bar, Gilford. The “People’s Republican Army” claimed responsibility.[11] It is believed this was a cover name used by members of the INLA.[14]

The HET report found that while the massacre was in “direct response” to the Reavey and O’Dowd killings, the attack was planned before that: “The murderous attacks on the Reavey and O’Dowd families were simply the catalyst for the premeditated and calculated slaughter of these innocent and defenceless men”.[16]

The attack

The bullet-riddled minibus which had been transporting the 11 Protestant workers who were gunned down as they lined up beside the vehicle

On 5 January 1976 just after 5.30 pm, a red Ford Transit minibus was carrying sixteen textile workers home from work in Glenanne to Bessbrook. Five were Catholics and eleven were Protestants. Four of the Catholics got out at Whitecross, while the rest continued on the road to Bessbrook.[17] As the bus cleared the rise of a hill, it was stopped by a man in British Army uniform standing on the road and flashing a torch.[18] The workers assumed they were being stopped and searched by the British Army. As the bus stopped, eleven masked gunmen with blackened faces and wearing combat jackets emerged from the hedges. A man “with a pronounced English accent” then began talking.[19] He ordered them to line-up beside the bus and then asked “Who is the Catholic?”.[18] The only Catholic was Richard Hughes. His workmates—now fearing that the gunmen were loyalists who had come to kill him—tried to stop him from identifying himself.[19] However, when Hughes stepped forward the gunman told him to “Get down the road and don’t look back”.[20] The lead gunman then said “Right” and the other armed men immediately opened fire on the workers.[21]

The remaining eleven men were shot at very close range with AR-18 and L1A1 SLR rifles, a 9mm pistol, and an M1 carbine. A total of 136 rounds were fired in less than a minute. The dead and wounded men’s bodies fell on top of each other. When the shooting stopped, one of the gunmen walked amongst the dying men and shot each of them in the head as they lay on the ground.[22] Ten of them died at the scene; John Bryans, Robert Chambers, Reginald Chapman, Walter Chapman, Robert Freeburn, Joseph Lemmon, John McConville, James McWhirter, Robert Walker and Kenneth Worton.[23] Alan Black survived despite having eighteen gunshot wounds.[24]

Hughes managed to stop a car and was driven to Bessbrook RUC station, where he raised the alarm. Meanwhile, a man and his wife had come upon the scene of the killings and had begun praying beside the victims. They found Alan Black, who was lying in a ditch and badly wounded. When an ambulance arrived, Black was taken to hospital in Newry, where he was operated on and survived.[25] A police officer said that the road was “an indescribable scene of carnage”,[26] whilst Johnston Chapman, the uncle of victims Reginald and Walter Chapman, said that the dead men were “just lying there like dogs, blood everywhere”.[27] At least two of the victims were so badly mutilated by gunfire that immediate relatives were prevented from identifying them. One relative stated that the hospital mortuary “was like a butcher’s shop with bodies lying on the floor like slabs of meat”.[24]

Nine of the dead, the textile workers, were from the village of Bessbrook, while the bus driver, Robert Walker (46), was from nearby Mountnorris.[2] Four of the men were members of the Orange Order.[28]

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Evidence exists to arrest untouchable IRA killers who committed the Kingsmills massacre

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The perpetrators

The next day, a caller claimed responsibility for the attack on behalf of the South Armagh Republican Action Force. He said that it was retaliation for the Reavey and O’Dowd killings of the night before,[19][29] and that there would be “no further action on our part” if loyalists stopped their attacks. He added that the group had no connection with the IRA.[19]

The IRA at the time denied responsibility for the killings. It stated on 17 January 1976:

The Irish Republican Army has never initiated sectarian killings… [but] if loyalist elements responsible for over 300 sectarian assassinations in the past four years stop such killing now, then the question of retaliation from whatever source does not arise.[30]

However, a 2011 report by the Historical Inquiries Team (HET) found that Provisional IRA members were responsible[6][31] and that the “South Armagh Republican Action Force” was merely a covername. It added: “There is some intelligence that the Provisional IRA unit responsible was not well-disposed towards central co-ordination but there is no excuse in that. These dreadful murders were carried out by the Provisional IRA and none other”.[16] Responding to the report, Sinn Féin spokesman Mitchel McLaughlin said that he did “not dispute the sectarian nature of the killings” but continued to believe “the denials by the IRA that they were involved”.[32][33] SDLP Assemblyman Dominic Bradley called on Sinn Féin to “publicly accept that the HET’s forensic evidence on the firearms used puts Provisional responsibility beyond question” and cease “deny[ing] that the Provisional IRA was in the business of organising sectarian killings on a large scale”.[34]

According to the account of journalist Toby Harnden, the British Military Intelligence assessment at the time was that the attack was carried out by local IRA members “who were acting outside of the normal IRA command structure”.[35] He also quoted an alleged South Armagh IRA member, Volunteer M, who said that “IRA members were ordered by their leaders to carry out the Kingsmill massacre”.[36] Furthermore, Harnden reported a contradictory RUC allegation that the attack was planned, and that future Real IRA leader Michael McKevitt was among the IRA members who planned it (at the nearby Road House pub on New Year’s Eve) and took part.[37]

It was alleged by Harnden that IRA Chief of Staff Seamus Twomey, on the suggestion of Brian Keenan, ordered that there had to be a disproportionate retaliation against Protestants in order to stop Catholics being killed by loyalists. According to IRA informer Sean O’Callaghan, “Keenan believed that the only way to put the nonsense out of the Prods [Protestants], was to hit back much harder and more savagely than them”.[38] However, O’Callaghan reports that Twomey and Keenan did not consult the IRA Army Council before sanctioning the Kingsmill attack. Ruairí Ó Brádaigh claims that he and Twomey only learned of the Kingsmill attack after it had taken place.[39]

Two AR-18 rifles used in the shooting were found by the British Army in 1990 in a wall near Cullyhanna and forensically tested. It was reported that the rifles were linked to 17 killings in the South Armagh area from 1974 to 1990.[40] Further ballistic studies found that guns used in the attack were linked to 37 killings, 22 attempted killings, 19 non-fatal shootings and 11 finds of spent cartridges between 1974 and 1989.[41]

In 2012, a secret Royal Military Police (RMP) document shown to the Sunday World newspaper revealed that the gunman who finished off the dying men could have been arrested five months later. The document says that the man (referred to as ‘P’) was wounded when British soldiers engaged an IRA unit near the Mountain House Inn on the Newry–Newtownhamilton Road on 25 June 1976. He managed to flee over the border and was treated at Louth County Hospital shortly after. The three other members of the IRA unit were captured within hours. According to the RMP document, two of them named ‘P’ as the fourth member. Four guns were also captured by security forces after the gunfight, including two that had been used in the Kingsmill massacre. The RMP document reveals that both the British Army and RUC knew that ‘P’ was being treated at the hospital but “made no attempt to have him arrested and extradited”. This has led to suspicions that ‘P’ – “who has never been prosecuted despite extensive paramilitary involvement” – was a British agent.[22]

Ian Paisley’s claims

In 1999, Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader Ian Paisley stated in the House of Commons that Eugene Reavey took part in the massacre. Eugene Reavey’s three brothers were shot by loyalists the day before, although Paisley made no reference to those killings.[42]

Eugene Reavey had “witnessed the immediate aftermath of the [Kingsmill] massacre, which took place near his home. He was driving to Newry and happened upon it. He and his family were on their way to Daisy Hill hospital to collect the bodies of two of his brothers, John (24) and Brian (22).”[43] Eugene Reavey “was also going to visit his younger brother, Anthony, who had been badly injured in the attack. The bodies of the murdered workmen were being brought into the mortuary when he arrived. He went into the room where the shattered families were gathering, and wept with them. Alan Black [sole survivor of the Kingsmill massacre] and Anthony Reavey shared a hospital room. Black lived whilst Reavey later died.”[43]

Paisley used parliamentary privilege to name those he believed responsible, including Eugene Reavey, whom he accused of being “a well-known republican” who “set up the Kingsmills massacre”. Paisley claimed to be quoting from what he described as a “police dossier” but what is believed to be an Ulster Defence Regiment intelligence file.[44][45] Paisley’s claims were rejected by the sole survivor of the Kingsmill massacre, Alan Black, and also by Reavey himself.

Susan McKay wrote in the Irish Times that Alan Black, on hearing Paisley’s accusations,

…went straight to the Reaveys’ house in Whitecross, south Armagh. He told Reavey that he knew he was innocent. The PSNI has stated that it had no reason to suspect Reavey of any crime, let alone of masterminding the atrocity … The then Northern Ireland deputy first minister, the SDLP‘s Seamus Mallon, expressed outrage. Reavey went to the chief constable of the RUC, Ronnie Flanagan. Flanagan said he had “absolutely no evidence whatsoever” to connect him with the massacre, and that no police file contained any such allegation.[46]

In January 2007, the Police Service of Northern Ireland‘s Historical Enquiries Team (HET) apologised to the Reavey family for security forces allegations that the three brothers killed in 1976 were IRA members or that Eugene Reavey had been involved in the Kingsmill attack.[47][48] Despite this, the allegation continued to be promoted by local unionist activist Willie Frazer of Families Acting for Innocent Relatives (FAIR).[49] In May 2010, the HET released a report which exonerated the three Reavey brothers and their family of any links to paramilitarism, leading Eugene Reavey to demand an apology from Ian Paisley for the comments he made in 1999.[50] Paisley died in 2014 without retracting his allegations.[51]

Strong indications of UDR involvement and collusion with the UVF led to a case being taken before the European Court of Human Rights regarding the killings.[52] In November 2007, the court ruled that the RUC had not properly investigated allegations made by John Weir, a former RUC officer and self-confessed former member of the Glennane gang.[53][54][55][56] Weir has made detailed claims of collusion between high-ranking members of the security forces and paramilitary groups.[57][56][58][dead link]

Alan Black’s claims

Alan Black survived the Kingsmill shooting
Alan Black

Alan Black, the sole survivor, has claimed that state agents were involved.[59]

Reactions and aftermath

The Kingsmill massacre was the last in the series of sectarian killings in South Armagh during the mid-1970s. According to Willie Frazer of FAIR, this was as a result of deal between the local UVF and IRA groups.[60]

Two days after the massacre, Prime Minister Harold Wilson announced that the Special Air Service (SAS) was being moved into the South Armagh area. This was the first time that SAS presence in Northern Ireland was officially acknowledged.[61] However, according to historian Richard English, “It seems clear that the SAS had been in the north well before this. According to the Provisionals since 1971; according to a former SAS soldier they had been there even earlier”. Units and personnel under SAS control are alleged to have been involved in loyalist attacks.[62] Author Toby Harnden places regiment’s B squadron in Belfast as early as 1974.[63]

Loyalist response

See Glenanne Gang

There were no immediate revenge attacks by loyalist paramilitaries. However, in 2007 it emerged that local UVF members from the “Glenanne gang” had planned to kill at least 30 Catholic school children as retaliation.[64][65] This gang had been involved in the Reavey–O’Dowd killings and it included members of the RUC’s Special Patrol Group and the British Army’s Ulster Defence Regiment.[64][65] Following the Kingsmill shootings, the gang drew-up plans to attack St Lawrence O’Toole Primary School in the South Armagh village of Belleeks.[64][65] The plan was aborted at the last minute on orders of the UVF’s Brigade Staff (Belfast leadership), who ruled that it would be “morally unacceptable”, would undermine support for the UVF, and could lead to civil war.[64][65] One Glenanne gang member said that the UVF leadership also feared the potential IRA response.[66] The gang member who suggested the attack was a UDR soldier. The leadership allegedly suspected that he was working for British Military Intelligence,[64][65] and that Military Intelligence were seeking to provoke a civil war.[66]

Another UVF gang, the “Shankill Butchers“, also planned retaliation for the massacre. This gang, led by Lenny Murphy, operated in Belfast and was notorious for its late-night kidnapping, torture and murder (by throat slashing) of random Catholic civilians. Within a week of the massacre, Murphy had laid the groundwork for an attack on a lorry that ferried Catholic workmen to Corry’s Timber Yard in West Belfast. The plan was to shoot all of those on board. However, Murphy abandoned the plan after the workers changed their route and transport.[67]

Some loyalists claim the Kingsmill massacre is the reason they joined paramilitary groups. One was Billy Wright, who said:

I was 15 when those workmen were pulled out of that bus and shot dead. I was a Protestant and I realised that they had been killed simply because they were Protestants. I left Mountnorris, came back to Portadown and immediately joined the youth wing of the UVF.[68]

He went on to assume command of the UVF Mid-Ulster Brigade when its leader Robin “the Jackal” Jackson “retired” in the early 1990s; Wright later founded the breakaway Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) in 1996. He was suspected of at least 20 sectarian killings of Catholics in the 1980s and 1990s.[69] Another with similar claims was RUC Special Patrol Group officer Billy McCaughey, who was one of the RUC officers present at the aftermath of the massacre. He told Toby Harnden, “the sides of the road were running red with blood and it was the blood of totally innocent Protestants”. Afterwards, McCaughey says that he began passing RUC intelligence to loyalist militants and also to participate in their operations. McCaughey was convicted in 1980 of one sectarian killing, the kidnapping of a Catholic priest, and one failed bombing.[70] However, McCaughey had colluded with loyalists before the Kingsmill attack, and later admitted to taking part in the Reavey killings the day before – he claimed he “was at the house but fired no shots”.[71] McCaughey also gave his view on how the massacre affected loyalists:

I think Kingsmills forced people to ask themselves where they were going, especially the Protestant support base, the civilian support base – the people who were not members of the UVF but would let you use a building or a field. Those people, many of them withdrew. It wasn’t because of anything the UVF did. It was fear of retaliation.[19]

No one was ever charged in relation to the Kingsmill massacre. In August 2003, there were calls for the Police Service of Northern Ireland to reopen the files relating to the massacre.[72]

Republican response

As noted above, the IRA denied involvement in the attack. Although author Toby Harnden and others have alleged that it was ordered by elements of the IRA leadership (Seamus Twomey and Brian Keenan), other republican leaders were reported to be very unhappy about it. According to the informer Sean O’Callaghan, Gerry Adams said in an Army Council meeting, “there’ll never again be another Kingsmill”.[73]

Harnden stated that IRA members in South Armagh who talked to him in the late 1990s generally condemned the massacre. One of them, Volunteer M, was quoted as saying that it was “a gut reaction [to the killing of Catholics] and a wrong one. The worst time in my life was in jail after Kingsmill. It was a dishonourable time”. Another, Volunteer G, was quoted as saying that he “never agreed with Kingsmill”. Republican activist Peter John Caraher said that those ultimately responsible were “the loyalists who shot the Reavey brothers”. He added, “It was sad that those people [at Kingsmill] had to die, but I’ll tell you something, it stopped any more Catholics being killed”.[74] This view was reiterated by a County Tyrone republican and Gaelic Athletic Association veteran who spoke to Ed Moloney. “It’s a lesson you learn quickly on the football field… If you’re fouled, you hit back”, he said.[75]

Memorial parade controversy

In February 2012, controversy arose when Willie Frazer of FAIR proposed a “March for Justice” in which the victims’ relatives, along with 11 loyalist bands, would follow the route taken by the workmen the night they were killed. This would have meant passing through the mainly nationalist village of Whitecross and past the homes of the Reavey family, where the three brothers had been killed the night before the massacre.[76] Over 200 people voiced their opposition to the march at a meeting with the Parades Commission in Whitecross. Local SDLP and Sinn Féin representatives also opposed it, saying it would raise sectarian tension in the area.[77] The Parades Commission approved the march on condition that there be no marching bands, flags, banners or placards. Pastor Barrie Halliday, a member of FAIR, received a death threat telling him that he would be shot and his church would be burnt if the march went ahead.[78] The organizers postponed the march; a move that was welcomed by local Sinn Féin MP Conor Murphy and Ulster Unionist MLA Danny Kennedy.[79]

Memorials

There is a memorial in Beesbrook inscribed ‘The Innocent Victims Murdered at Kingsmills’.[80]

A second memorial, near the site of the attack was vandalised on Friday 30 November 2012 while it was undergoing construction. IRA graffiti was scratched into the plaster of the memorial. Danny Kennedy MLA, who has campaigned on behalf of the families, said he was “absolutely appalled by the attack”. The Ulster Unionist representative also claimed that there was an attempt to “intimidate” construction workers at the memorial site, prior to the graffiti appearing. [81] [82]

In June 2013, Northern Ireland’s SDLP Environment Minister Alex Attwood apologised that his Department has sent a letter to the land owner of the memorial site demanding it be removed as it did not have planning permission. Attwood said: “That letter should not have been issued. How the planning system went off and issued a letter is beyond me. I am not happy.” MLA William Irwin criticised the Department’s action and contrasted it with its inaction over 19 “illegal roadside terrorist memorials”, five of which were in the Newry and Armagh constituency, which similarly had no planning permission

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Alan Black

Alan Black outside the Belfast Coroner's Court on Tuesday.

The sole survivor of the Kingsmill massacre has threatened legal action over the failure to appoint a new coroner to hear a fresh inquest into the murders of 10 Protestant workmen in South Armagh almost 40 years ago

A number of victims’ relatives joined Alan Black in issuing the ultimatum to the Department of Justice on Tuesday.

He was one of 11 textile workers who were ambushed in South Armagh in 1976. Ten of the men died when they were lined up against the minibus they were travelling in and shot.

Northern Ireland’s Senior Coroner John Leckey has been presiding over preliminary proceedings ahead of the new inquest being heard, but he is due to retire in the autumn.

No other coroner has been assigned to the case, despite calls from Mr Leckey for Justice Minister David Ford to find a successor.

During the final preliminary hearing in the case before retirement, a lawyer representing Mr Black and the family of victim John McConville warned judicial review proceedings would be initiated if no action is taken.

Mr Black said the families would not accept a further hold-up in their long battle for an inquest.

“Over the years since we got involved, it has been one obstacle put in our way after the other and all coming from the Department of Justice,” he said.

“They knew for two years that John Leckey was going to go. David Ford wants to kick us into the long grass again, we are not going.

“We’ll do whatever’s necessary with the legal people and hopefully get a result then.”

No one has been convicted of the murders, which were widely blamed on the IRA, although the organisation never admitted responsibility.

Mr Black was hit 18 times but survived the gun attack.

The only Catholic worker was told to flee the scene.

In a statement, a spokesman for the justice minister said: “The Department of Justice fully appreciates the concerns of the families who are awaiting inquests into the deaths of loved ones.

“The Coroners Service currently has three full-time coroners, including the senior coroner.

“The justice minister also recently approved the appointment of an additional county court judge to create additional judicial capacity for legacy cases.

“The assignment of a coroner to hear inquests is currently the responsibility of the senior coroner and will become the responsibility of the Lord Chief Justice when he assumes the Presidency of the Coroners’ Courts.”

This story first appeared on UTV in June 2015

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The sole survivor of a sectarian massacre of 10 Protestant workmen in Northern Ireland has led a solitary life since the slaughter, a lawyer told an inquest

Alan Black was shot 18 times and left for dead alongside the lifeless bodies of his friends, cut down in a hail of bullets by a South Armagh roadside in 1976, blamed on He has problems trusting people and suffered health issues, a Belfast courtroom was told. The elderly former engineer applied for legal representation in an upcoming coroner’s investigation into a mass killing near the village of Kingsmill, one of the most notorious Troubles shootings.

Barrister Fiona Doherty told the hearing: “He has not been able to work since the shooting and leads a solitary life.”

The textile workers were gunned down after a masked gang stopped their minibus close to Kingsmill as they were travelling home from work.

They were forced to line up alongside the van and ordered to divulge their religion. The only Catholic was told to flee while the 11 remaining were shot.

No-one has ever been convicted of the murders, widely blamed on the IRA even though the organisation never admitted responsibility

Ms Doherty said the only survivor had left school at 15 and worked as a mechanic or engineer until the incident.

She argued that she should be allowed to represent him, alongside relatives of the deceased, during what is expected to be one of the largest inquests in recent times in Northern Ireland.

She claimed it would be nearly impossible for him to properly understand and respond to the evidence and stressed his importance to shed light on what happened.

“He is not simply a witness, he is a survivor.

“He is the only person who can give a first hand account of what happened.”

She told coroner Brian Sherrard it may be only when another witness gave evidence or documents were made available that the value of his input was realised.

“The court should be very slow to disregard that full input and the benefit that you and the inquest get from having that input.”

She argued counsel for the coroner could not adequately replace a dedicated lawyer.

“He needs help and support to come from people he knows and trusts and has built up a rapport with. He has issues with trust stemming from the incident…and he needs help and support to be fully informed.”

She warned the consequences of not granting legal representation could be profound.

“There is a real risk that the inquest will pass him by.”

A barrister for the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), Peter Coll, asked what purpose would be served.

“What extra element will be brought to the inquest proceedings, what marks Mr Black out as being different from a witness/survivor in any other incident?

“We respectfully say there would be nothing to be gained from it.”