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Families of 1976 Kingsmills Massacre victims demand public inquiry

An official inquiry blames the IRA for the death of 10 Protestant textile workers in one of the bloodiest Troubles killings.

Shirley Wilson (right) comforts her friend Shirley Norris, whose father was one of the victims of the Kingsmills shootings, at a 20-year anniversary service in 1996.
Shirley Wilson (right) comforts her friend Shirley Norris, whose father was one of the victims of the Kingsmills shootings, at a 20-year anniversary service in 1996.
Image: MARTIN MCCULLOUGH/PA Archive

THE FAMILIES OF ten Protestant textile workers, who were killed in a hail of bullets during one of the bloodiest incidents in Northern Irish history, have called for a full public inquiry into the killings.

The calls come after the North’s Historial Enquiries Team (HET) published the findings of a long-running investigation into the incident – known as the Kingsmills Massacre – declaring that the IRA was responsible for the atrocity.

The BBC reports that the HET also found, unequivocally, that the men had been killed solely because of their religion.

“The only people to blame for this are the sectarian gunmen belonging to the Provisional IRA who murdered them simply because they were Protestant,” Reuters quotes Dave Cox of the HET as saying.

Firearms used in the attack bore all the hallmarks of being owned by the IRA, the report found, adding that the ‘South Armagh Republican Action Force’ – which officially claimed responsibility – was a front for the organisation.

The report also criticised the small RUC team which investigated the attack, UTV News said, as it condemned them for failing to trace and interview a small number of potential witnesses.

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Only one person survived the attack on the Ford Transit minibus, which was bringing workers home after work on 5 January 1976 when the attack took place.

The bus was approached by a dozen masked men, who allowed the sole Catholic traveller to evacuate the bus before opening fire and killing ten travellers.

The sole survivor, Alan Black, was shot 18 times in the incident – but today said the families of those who died had suffered far more than he had.

About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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