Northern Ireland news

Relatives of Kingsmill massacre victims urge killers to face up to repercussions of their actions

Relatives of the victims gather for a service at the Kingsmill memorial near Newry. Picture by Justin Kernoghan/PhotopressBelfast
Michelle Devane, Press Association

RELATIVES of the Kingsmill massacre victims have called for the perpetrators of the atrocity to face up to the repercussions of their actions.

They also said those allegedly responsible for the killings four decades ago should be named publicly.

Families and friends of the victims held a commemorative service on Saturday morning to mark the 43rd anniversary of the attack, which took place on a small rural road in south Co Armagh.

Ten innocent Protestant workmen were killed after their minibus was stopped by republican gunmen in 1976 at the height of Troubles. They were lined up outside and shot dead. Another man survived the shootings.

Racquel Brush, whose father Kenneth Worton was one of those who died, said the families want to see justice served.

An inquest is being held into the deaths but the families do not believe enough progress is being made.

Ms Brush said: "I was naive in thinking when the inquest started... We thought it'll be a matter of months or weeks, we'll get it done and dusted and get it all sorted, that'll be it.

"Now we're near three years on... as to getting justice, I don't know.

"There seems to be more roadblocks and barricades put up in front of you – that you're not allowed to be told this, you're not allowed to be told that."

The textile factory workers were ambushed as they travelled along the Whitecross to Bessbrook road on January 5 1976, allegedly in reprisal for earlier loyalist killings.

Ms Brush said: "We didn't ask for our families' names to be put into public view because of what happened, so why can't the perpetrators that did it? Why should they not get the same [treatment and be named]?

"They were big enough, manly enough to do it that night. Why not come forward now and face the repercussions, and own up to it?

"I couldn't comprehend how someone could live with themselves."

The families and victims' campaigners gathered at the spot on the brow of a hill on a narrow country road near Newry where the killings took place.

A memorial there lists the names of those who died, featuring gold lettering against a polished black backdrop.

They laid wreaths at the spot and said prayers.

Ms Brush said it is important to the families that they commemorate their loved ones.

"We're here to remember, as we do every year," she said.

"You don't just remember on this date, it's a yearly, daily occurrence. But especially in the run-up to Christmas it becomes even more so: your thoughts of him, what could have been and should have been, and wasn't."

Her sister Suzanne Hinds said: "It's sad because I stand here and I'm imagining that minibus coming up here, their last thoughts and their tea sitting in the oven waiting on them.

"The older I get it gets harder and then you realise more how brutal they [the killers] were. I wouldn't put my dog down like that."

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