Northern Ireland news

Kingsmill survivor threatens legal action over failure to appoint new coroner

David Young

The only survivor of the sectarian Kingsmill massacre has threatened legal action over the failure to appoint a new coroner to hear a fresh inquest into the killings.

Alan Black, who survived the massacre despite being shot 18 times, was joined by a number of relatives of the deceased in his challenge against Stormont's Department of Justice.

Senior Coroner John Leckey has been presiding over preliminary hearings for the new inquest, but he is due to retire in the autumn, and despite his repeated calls for Justice Minister David Ford to appoint his successor, no appointment has been made.

Speaking during Mr. Leckey's final hearing before retirement, the lawyer representing both Mr. Black and the family of victim John McConville, warned that he would initiate judicial review proceedings if no action was taken.

Mr. Black insisted that the families would not accept any further delays in their lengthy bid for an inquest.

"Over the years it's been one obstacle put in our way after another and it's all coming from the Department of Justice," he said.

A group of 11 Protestant men were lined up outside of a minibus and shot in the 1976 attack in the Co. Armagh village of Kingsmill. The sole Catholic on the bus was told to flee.

A group styling itself as the South Armagh Republican Action Force claimed responsibility for the attack at the time, although a 2011 report by the Historical Inquiries Team found that this was merely a cover name for members of the Provisional IRA. The group has never claimed responsibility for the killings and it has been widely claimed that the members acted without permission from the organisation's Army Council.

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