Northern Ireland news

Kingsmill: Paisley son says 'no possibility' of meeting Eugene Reavey

Eugene Reavey was wrongly named by Dr Ian Paisley as being involved in the Kingsmill attack.

EUGENE Reavey has said he still hopes to meet a son of the late Ian Paisley after the Free Presbyterian minister pulled out of a meeting with him.

The south Armagh man spent years fighting to clear his name after the former DUP leader used parliamentary privilege to wrongly name him as being involved in the murder of 10 Protestant workmen at Kingsmill in 1976.

The IRA attack happened the day after Mr Reavey's three brothers were fatally wounded in an attack on their family home at nearby Whitecross, carried out by the Glenanne gang.

In July the Irish News revealed that the 'intelligence' document Mr Paisley quoted from in the House of Commons in 1999 had been doctored.

The dossier, dated January 12 1976, a week after the IRA ambush of a work van at Kingsmill, contained the names of a dozen alleged suspects.

The Irish News saw parts of the dossier which confirmed that out of a dozen names only four were members of the IRA at the time, with the rest innocent members of local farming families.

An investigation by the police's Historical Enquiries Team made clear there was no evidence to link any member of the Reavey family to Kingsmill or paramilitarism.

Former RUC chief constable Sir Ronnie Flanagan also said there was nothing to link Mr Reavey to the gun attack.

However, the former First Minister died in 2014 having never retracted his allegation.

Kyle Paisley had agreed to talk with Mr Reavey but withdrew the offer hours after news of the meeting became public yesterday.

Rev Paisley, who is based in Suffolk in England, said in a statement on Twitter that he was "disappointed" in the way the matter had been handled.

"I feel that confidence has been broken on what had been a matter of private correspondence", he said.

"My only purpose in saying that I would meet Mr Reavey was to offer Christian sympathy on a personal level."

He said he "could not and would not" apologise on his father's behalf..

"Because of the way in which this matter has been handled, there is now no possibility of my meeting with Eugene Reavey."

However, Mr Reavey insisted he did not break any confidences and had not asked Mr Paisley to apologise for this father's remarks.

"I wanted the meeting to take place in the spirit of reconciliation and to see where it would lead to," he told the BBC.

"I would still like to meet and put my point of view to him."

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