Killing of 10 Protestant workmen was believed to have been carried out by IRA despite republican organisation denying it all these years
Henry McDonaldThe Guardian
23 May 2016Alan Black, the sole survivor of the Kingsmill massacre, arrives at Belfast coroner’s court for the inquest. (Photograph: Niall Carson/PA)The sole survivor of the Kingsmill massacre, when 10 Protestant workmen were killed by the IRA in 1976, has called for the “unvarnished truth” at the opening of an inquest into the atrocity.
Alan Black survived despite being shot 18 times when members of the IRA’s south Armagh brigade opened fire on the workers at Kingsmill, in County Armagh, after stopping them on a minibus going to work.
It later emerged at the hearing that two suspects connected to the killings were given “letters of comfort” from Tony Blair’s government as part of a secret deal with Sinn Féin during the peace process, to allow IRA members on the run, or wanted fugitives, back into Northern Ireland.
Speaking outside Laganside courthouse in Belfast on Monday, Black said it was a “red letter day” for him and the families of the murdered men. “We have fought long and hard for this review.
“Obstacles were put in our way. Thanks to these people we have gotten over each one,” he said referring to the families of those who died in the attack. The inquest will hear opening statements from family members of the murdered men.
The atrocity was claimed by the South Armagh Republican Action Force in revenge for a loyalist sectarian double murder in the county. However, republican and security sources down through the decades have said the IRA was behind the Kingsmill killings, even though the organisation has never publicly admitted it.
Monday’s inquest also ruled out a conspiracy theory that claimed an SAS captain, Robert Nairac, had a hand in the murders. Nairac went undercover within the IRA and was later killed by republicans after being abducted from a pub. The inquest was told that the soldier was not serving in Northern Ireland at the time of the atrocity.
The inquest will also hear from police officers belonging to the historical enquiries team, a policing unit tasked with reopening unsolved cases from the Troubles. In 2011, the HET concluded the IRA was responsible for the Kingsmill massacre.