Northern Ireland news

Kingsmill massacre: Even after 40 years there are still those who would seek to keep details secret

Alan Black, sole survivor of the Kingsmill massacre, leaving the inquest. Picture by Alan Lewis, Photopress
Analysis by Allison Morris

IT'S been more than 40 years since the IRA shot dead 10 Protestant workmen in an attack close to the village of Kingsmill.

The sectarian slaughter came amid an increase in murderous attacks in the border area.

With six Catholics shot dead the night before in two separate gun attacks members of the rural South Armagh community were living in a state of constant fear.

But even in an area accustomed to violence those events in that first week in January 1976 had massive reverberations.

The fall out from the killings of the Reavey brothers and members of the O'Dowd family followed by the Kingsmill atrocity was felt for generations.

Families who once lived side by side now divided and mistrustful of one another.

Last week an inquest into the Kingsmill attack heard harrowing evidence from survivor Alan Black.

Families who have been preparing themselves for reliving those dark days were understandably shocked when it was announced a new suspect had been identified.

A palm print found on a van in Co Louth used by the killers was matched to a suspect the coroner was told.

After 40 years, an RUC investigation and several reviews of the case including an extensive cold case investigation by the Historical Enquiries Team, families were justified in asking why it had taken so long.

The Irish News revealed on Saturday that the print was linked to Colm Murphy, the Co Louth man has been a self confessed active republican since the 1970s having served several prison sentences.

In an interview with the Irish News he says his prints have been taken around 40 times since 1976, both in the republic and Northern Ireland as well as during an arrest in America.

Why he's only been linked to the attack now, 40-years on raises important questions of huge public interest.

I travelled across the border to speak to Murphy and put these questions to him, it was no different from interviews I've carried out with countless republicans or loyalists over the years.

Following the interview I was stopped twice by garda officers, apparently for traffic control, as I drove back toward the border.

Perhaps it was a coincidence, but it does not seem inconsequential given the PSNI later tried to then prevent the interview being published by seeking an injunction.

The families of those killed have spent 40 years seeking answers and it seems that even after all that time there are still those who seek to stifle important information being made public.

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