Northern Ireland

Sinn Féin: Kingsmill families ‘entitled to truth and justice’

Gerry Kelly also accused the British government of ‘closing the door’ on families

Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly. Picture by Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly. Picture by Liam McBurney/PA Wire

The Kingsmill families are “entitled to truth and justice”, a senior Sinn Féin figure has said.

Speaking after the verdict was delivered on Friday at the inquest into the murders of 10 Protestant workmen at Kingsmill in 1976, MLA Gerry Kelly also accused the British government of “closing the door” on families through the controversial Legacy Act.

It came as UUP leader Doug Beattie said the inquest had “failed at every level” as he criticised the decision not to name those responsible.

Mr Beattie also called on the British government “to do the right thing” and hold an inquiry into the massacre.

He said the inquest had “failed to give the families confidence that they would receive information into the loss of their loved ones, failed to identify publicly those responsible for this horrific crime although they are known”.

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“It also failed to move the Irish government into finally giving up their secrets into this vile episode of our troubled past in an open and transparent manner.

DUP MLA William Irwin said “those who still bear the pain of what happened in 1976 have not seen anyone brough to justice”.

“Many of the victims lost faith in this process some time ago and it will be of no comfort to them that their stance has been justified,” he said.

“Even when granted an inquest it has not seen the kind of pressure for openness and truth which seems to be thrown behind other processes.

“The families have been through decades of pain and grief because of the actions of republicans.

“Many of them are people of faith however who rely on the knowledge that even those who evade justice in this life, will not escape it forever.”

TUV leader Jim Allister also said the coroner’s failure to name the murderers responsible “was a grievous shortcoming”.

“Many unanswered questions remain about this darkest of days in the long annals of terror in our province,” he said.

" It is for that reason that I believe that nothing short of a full public inquiry is necessary to get to the truth.

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“Today should not be the end of the matter but merely a step along the road towards full truth and justice.”