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23rd-May-2016 02:44 pm - Inquest into Kingsmill massacre in Northern Ireland begins
Killing of 10 Protestant workmen was believed to have been carried out by IRA despite republican organisation denying it all these years

Henry McDonald
The Guardian
23 May 2016



Alan 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.

17th-Feb-2014 05:51 pm - IRA massacre survivor suspects state involvement

RTÉ News
17 Feb 2014



Alan Black, pictured at today's hearing, was shot 18 times

A man who survived an IRA massacre of ten Protestant workmen believes state agents may have been involved in the attack, a coroner's court has heard.

A lawyer for Alan Black made the claim as preliminary proceedings got under way ahead of a new inquest into the Kingsmill shootings in 1976.

Ten textile workers were shot dead by the side of a road near the Co Armagh village after masked gunmen flagged down the minibus they were travelling home from work in.

The killers asked all the occupants of the vehicle what religion they were.

The only Catholic worker was ordered away from the scene and the 11 remaining workmates were then shot.

Mr Black survived, despite being shot 18 times. He was the only survivor.

At the first preliminary inquest hearing in Belfast's Old Town Hall, barrister Eugene McKenna, representing Mr Black, told Northern Ireland's senior coroner John Leckey that his client suspected state involvement.

"Mr Black believes there may have been agents of the state involved in the attack itself," he said.

Mr Leckey said he had read Mr Black's account of what unfolded on the day and had been shocked.

"It's difficult really to take in the horror that he experienced," he said.

The coroner added: "This was one of the most horrific incidents in the so-called Troubles and I'm sure not only for Mr Black, but for the families [of the dead], the horror of what happened is still very much to the forefront of their minds."

No-one has ever been convicted of the murders.

There were 12 men in the gang that committed the attack.

The ten men who died were John Bryans, Robert Chambers, Reginald Chapman, Walter Chapman, Robert Freeburn, Joseph Lemmon, John McConville, James McWhirter, Robert Samuel Walker and Kenneth Worton.

The court heard that Richard Hughes, the Catholic man who managed to escape the carnage, has since died.

The IRA never admitted responsibility for the murders but an investigation by the police's Historical Enquiries Team (HET) three years ago found that members of the republican organisation did perpetrate the attack, motivated purely by sectarianism.

Northern Ireland's Attorney General, John Larkin, ordered the fresh inquest last year after a long campaign by bereaved relatives.

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