Northern Ireland

Kingsmills massacre: Arlene Foster at service to mark 40th anniversary

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Media captionAlan Black, who survived the Kingsmills massacre, with his granddaughter, Evie

First Minister Arlene Foster has joined politicians, clergy and families of the bereaved at a service of remembrance for those killed in the Kingsmills massacre 40 years ago.

Ten Protestant workmen were shot dead when an IRA gang ambushed their minibus near the County Armagh village in 1976.

The service took place in the victims' home village of Bessbrook.

Several hundred people including relatives of the dead and the sole survivor, Alan Black, were present.

Image caption NI First Minister Arlene Foster arrives at Bessbrook town hall on Sunday

Justice Minister David Ford, Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt and Jim Allister, leader of the TUV were also there.

They heard Presbyterian Minister Rev Keith McIntyre say that people may question why communities continue to remember what happened in the past.

Image caption Relatives at the service in Bessbrook

But, he said, truth demands that we remember what happened 40 years ago in Kingsmills.

"No-one has been brought before any earthly court to answer for what they did that night," he said.

Image caption Laying flowers at the memorial

Another local clergyman, Rev Frank Gibson, described the IRA shootings as "an horrific and mindless act of barbarity carried out on decent hardworking men returning home".

He said it was "a shocking breach of civilised behaviour" on what was truly "a day of infamy in south Armagh".

Image copyright PA
Image caption The Protestant textile workers were travelling home from work when their mini-bus was ambushed

The men who died were John Bryans, Robert Chambers, Reginald Chapman, Walter Chapman, Robert Freeburn, Joseph Lemmon, John McConville, James McWhirter, Robert Samuel Walker and Kenneth Worton.

A memorial service was held earlier this month to mark the anniversary.

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