THE OPENING OF THE KINGSMILLS MASSACRE INQUESTS
KRW LAW LLP is instructed by the family of John McConville who was murdered in the Kingsmill Massacre 5th January 1976 in which ten Protestant workmen were killed in disputed circumstances. We are also instructed by the only survivor of the attack Alan Black, who was shot 18 times. Alan Black has fought to have his voice heard in the inquest process.
The start of these inquests is a significant moment in the quest for truth, justice and accountability for the relatives of the victims of the Kingsmills Massacre and the Alan Black as the lone survivor. But sadly, in common with many other relatives and survivors, the lapse of time and the prolonged wait endured by these families, indicative of the delay which is a pall over the Legacy inquest process in the North of Ireland, means that today is marked by a tragic poignancy and a grim acceptance that their wait is not yet over.
The decision of the Attorney-General two years ago to order fresh inquests into the Kingsmill Massacre had a seismic effect for the families of the victims and the survivor Alan Black. The decision not only offered hope but pointed to the need to have an inclusive human rights compliant truth recovery process for all families similarly afflicted. The proposed Historical Investigations Unit (HIU) under the Stormont House Agreement 2014 has been stymied by political arguments regarding disclosure and National Security. The HIU would have operated parallel to the Legacy Inquest process. Legacy inquests have been stalled because of a lack of resources as requested by the Lord Chief Justice. Political wrangling, this time using the toxic rhetoric of the hierarchy of victims, means that the start of the Kingsmills Massacre Inquests today is an exception hard fought for.
And the process of getting to this point of departure in the Kingsmills Massacre Inquests have been marred by the failure state agencies, including the PSNI, to comply with orders for disclosure. Therefore, today, the families are still without key information required to expedite the process of the inquest. In addition, the complaint made to OPONI regarding the investigation of the Kingsmill Massacre by the RUC, has not been progressed to lack of funding: this has meant recourse to civil litigation. Further, important questions have arisen regarding the Kingsmill Massacre and the controversial OTR scheme, the fall out of which followed the failed prosecution of John Downey in 2014.
KRW LAW LLP represents many relatives of victims and survivors of the Conflict in the North of Ireland, from across our community and including former members of the British security forces. We welcome the start of the Kingsmills Massacre Inquests today but we are cautious that so much remains to be done in compliance with human rights to deal with the Legacy of the Conflict which is clearly now subject to political decision making and expediency.
Contact: Barry O’Donnell
KRW LAW LLP
The Sturgen Building
9-15 Queen Street
Tel: 028 9024 1888