Background: Ten Protestants murdered by IRA in Kingsmill massacre

Ballistic studies found guns used in the south Armagh attack were linked to 37 murders

The bullet-riddled minibus near Kingsmill in  south Armagh where 10 Protestant workmen were shot dead by the IRA in 1976. File photograph:   PA Wire

The bullet-riddled minibus near Kingsmill in south Armagh where 10 Protestant workmen were shot dead by the IRA in 1976. File photograph: PA Wire

 

Ten Protestant textile workers were shot to death by an IRA gang of at least 11 members on January 5th, 1976, near the village of Kingsmill in south Armagh.

Their minibus was flagged down in the darkness as they were returning from work by a man flashing a light.

The one Catholic among them was identified and told to run away.

The remaining 11 were shot numerous times by the IRA gang.

One of the men, Alan Black, survived the attack despite being hit 18 times.

The murders were in response to another bout of sectarian killings the previous day when the Ulster Volunteer Force shot dead six Catholics in two separate incidents.

Three members of the Reavey family and three members of the O’Dowd family were murdered in those attacks.

‘Calculated slaughter’

The South Armagh Republican Action Force said it carried out the Kingsmill massacre but this was dismissed at the time and subsequently by a 2011 Historical Enquiries Team investigation, which said that the Provisional IRA was responsible for the “purely sectarian” and “calculated slaughter” of 10 Protestants.

South Armagh IRA member Raymond McCreesh, who died on hunger strike in 1981, was named as one of those linked to an Armalite rifle used in the Kingsmill shootings.

Ballistic studies found that guns used in the Kingsmill attack were linked to 37 murders, 22 attempted murders, 19 non-fatal shootings and 11 finds of spent cartridges between 1974 and 1989.