Coroner rules Kingsmill massacre was 'overtly sectarian' IRA attack

Coroner rules Kingsmill massacre was 'overtly sectarian' IRA attack

April 12 () –

A coroner has determined after an almost eight-year investigation that the Kingsmill massacre in which ten Protestant workers were murdered almost half a century ago in the south of County Armagh, Northern Ireland, was an “openly sectarian attack” by of the Irish Republican Army (IRA).

“The IRA has failed to recognize the utter injustice of this atrocity, its impact on those left bereaved or the harm caused to the entire community,” coroner Brian Sherrard concluded in a report in which he stated that no individual, organization or political party has been held accountable for the massacre.

The attack was claimed by the South Armagh Republican Action Force (SARAF), although the coroner has determined that there is extensive ballistic evidence linking the weapons that were used during the massacre with a series of attacks carried out by the IRA.

“The attack, although apparently a direct response to the vicious attacks on the Reavey and O'Dowd families by loyalist terrorists on the afternoon of 4 January 1976, was not spontaneous but had been planned well in advance.” , he stated, as reported by the newspaper 'Belfast Telegraph'.

The shooting took place on January 5, 1976 when a group of about twelve armed men stopped a minibus heading towards Bessbrook. The workers on board were asked their religion. They forced the only Catholic present to flee, while the rest were shot in front of the vehicle. Alan Black, who was 32 years old at the time, was shot up to 18 times and was the only survivor.

The massacre occurred after the murder of six Catholics at the hands of members of the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), a paramilitary group loyal to the British Crown. Three people belonging to the Reavey family were shot at their home in Whitecross and three other people from the O'Dowd family were killed in a burst of gunfire in Ballydougan.

The Good Friday Agreement put an end to the armed activity of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) after decades of bloody conflict dating back to the 1920s, when the island of Ireland was divided between an independent country of the same name and a zone that remained linked to the United Kingdom.

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