Irish Republican News · June 11, 2016
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Kingsmill mystery deepens


An inquest into a gun attack against Protestant workmen in 1976 has had to be halted following the bizarre claim that a match has been found for a palm print, forty years after it was taken from the scene of the attack.

The Provisional IRA always denied responsibility for shooting eight Protestant workers to death outside the County Armagh village of Kingsmill in January 1976. No-one has ever been convicted of the attack, which took place the day after loyalists shot dead six Catholic civilians in two co-ordinated attacks.

The atrocity fuelled the depiction by the establishment media of an orngoing campaign of ‘tit-for-tat’ sectarian violence in the North. The British government subsequently declared County Armagh to be a “Special Emergency Area” and hundreds of extra troops and police were deployed in the area. It also announced that the Special Air Service (SAS) was being moved into South Armagh.

One of those convicted but subsequently cleared of the 1998 Omagh bomb, Colm Murphy, was this week forced to deny involvement after a newspaper claimed they had seen PSNI police documents allegedly naming him as matching the palm print. The Belfast-based Irish News also said the PSNI had sought to prevent them publishing the allegation.

Denying the claim, Mr Murphy said that he was being “set up” to deflect from a bigger scandal. Kingsmill survivor Alan Black agreed with Murphy that the palm-print story was a ruse. “What dirty secret are they hiding?” he said.

The infamous atrocity, carried out by people posing as a British military checkpoint, has always been mired in controversy. One of those involved in the attack is said to have had an English accent. There have been claims that former British Army captain Robert Nairac, later killed by the IRA after an attempt to infiltrate the organisation in south Armagh, may have been involved.

Last week, during the ongoing inquest, it emerged that forensic officers had now found a match on the police database for a palm print found on the getaway van used by the those involved in the attack.

Mr Black questioned the timing of the claims. “Why has this never come up before?” he said. “It’s just unbelievable. I’m just totally, totally baffled by it.”

He added: “Tests have been run on that print seven or eight times over few years and they found absolutely nothing.”

He expressed concerns that a positive match for the palm print was revealed in a bid to indefinitely delay the inquest. He also said he was unhappy with how the PSNI has handled the case.

At a meeting on Friday, a senior PSNI team told the families they could not discuss the ‘ongoing’ criminal investigation. “They haven’t liaised with the families and they haven’t liaised with me,” Mr Black said.

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