N. Ireland Politics

Irish authorities 'failing Kingsmills families'

Kingsmill van
Image caption The 10 men were shot dead after IRA gunmen stopped their mini-bus

Relatives of men killed in the Kingsmills massacre have accused Republic of Ireland authorities of failing them in the search for justice.

Neither the government nor the Irish police had taken "any meaningful steps" to help the inquest, said a lawyer for the group.

Instead, he argued, they had paid "mere lip service" to the idea of handing over information about the murders.

Ten Protestant workmen were killed in the attack in January 1976.

Speaking at a preliminary hearing , the lawyer said: "The system that has been established to deal with this aspect of legacy in Northern Ireland is being obstructed by the failure of the Irish Republic to do anything meaningful to assist."

He said the apparent difficulty in getting information from the south stood in contrast to the apparent ease with which the gang was able to cross the border and escape 40 years ago.

"That soft border which allowed that has been replaced by a hard border of failing to provide meaningful cooperation and disclosure to the inquest.

'Palm print'

"The entire intelligence framework, the information concerning the suspect, information relating to weapons, issues relating to the palm print, those are just a few matters that we would certainly be wanting more information."

Karen Armstrong, who lost her brother in the attack, said the families were in no doubt that there was much more information to be handed over.

Most of the small number of documents which have been provided are newspaper cuttings.

Mrs Armstrong said: "There are two scenes there. It's where the van was hijacked and also where the gang escaped to over the border.

"So they have more material, undoubtedly."

Another preliminary hearing is due to be held next month with the inquest itself set to resume in May.