Failure by Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Enda Kenny and the Gardai (police) to honor their pledge to hand over vital files on one of Northern Ireland’s worst massacres have been described as disgraceful.
Northern Ireland coroner John Leckey, who has been trying to hold an inquest into 10 murders in the Kingsmills massacre of Protestants, issued the criticism after a further attempt to proceed with his inquiry was halted on Monday.
The murders in 1976 were widely blamed on the IRA though the organization never admitted responsibility. The vehicle used by the killers in the Co. Armagh village of Kingsmills was both stolen and then dumped in Co. Louth, south of the Northern Ireland border.
The protestant textile workers were gunned down after a masked gang stopped their minibus close to Kingsmills as they were travelling home from work. They were forced to line up alongside the van and ordered to divulge their religion.
The only Catholic worker was told to flee the scene while the 11 remaining workers were shot.
Alan Black, who survived despite being hit 18 times, was in court at Monday’s attempt to continue with the inquest. He said the latest delay was like groundhog day.
No one has ever been convicted of the murders.
Two months ago Kenny committed publicly to handing over potentially crucial Garda papers.
Barrister Neil Rafferty, acting for Beatrice Worton whose son Kenneth was killed, told the coroner that without the Garda files the inquest could only investigate “half of the story.”
He said his clients and other families met Kenny in March and were told documents would be with the office within two weeks.
Still,” not one paper clip, not one sheet of paper, has made its way north."
The coroner, who in March welcomed Kenny's statement, said the taoiseach would not have made such comments lightly.
Leckey said if a firm time-table for disclosure of “outstanding issues” was not forthcoming, he would consider raising the issue with Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers in a bid to resolve it with dialogue between the two governments.