Government to issue order allowing release of Kingsmill files

Enda Kenny says failure to disclose files on IRA murders was for genuine reasons

 Taoiseach Enda Kenny: “I gave them [the families] an undertaking we will supply the relevant documentation through An Garda Síochána which exists on file, which I haven’t read.” Photograph: Eric Luke

Taoiseach Enda Kenny: “I gave them [the families] an undertaking we will supply the relevant documentation through An Garda Síochána which exists on file, which I haven’t read.” Photograph: Eric Luke

 

The Government is to issue a directive allowing all Garda files relating to the Kingsmill massacre of 10 Protestant workmen by the IRA in 1976 to be released.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said this was a matter of justice for the families but also a strong message to the British government to release any files it has.

“I gave them [the families] an undertaking we will supply the relevant documentation through An Garda Síochána which exists on file, which I haven’t read.

“I gave that undertaking on behalf of the Government of the people of Ireland here both as a demonstration where we can be and also to the British government in respect of other documentation that exists in many other cases that have not been produced.”

The decision, which will be agreed at Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting, comes after Belfast Coroner’s Court criticised the delay by the Garda. Lawyers for those bereaved by the murders in Co Armagh in 1976 heavily criticised officials for not passing over the Garda documents, more than two months after Mr Kenny publicly committed to the handover.

Mr Kenny said the failure to disclose the files about the murders was for genuine reasons.

Legal issues

Mr Kenny said this was a sign of the commitment of the Government to deal with legacy issues. “Let that be a demonstration of what can happen in so many other cases where documentation hasn’t been produced.”

The comments were read as a call on the British government to release the files it has on the Dublin-Monaghan bombings.

The Taoiseach was speaking as the North/South Ministerial Council met in Dublin.

First Minister Peter Robinson was replaced at the meeting by Democratic Unionist Party deputy leader Arlene Foster.

Ms Foster said the raising of the tricolour over Stormont this week had caused “grave offence to unionists”.

‘Total disrespect’

Ms Foster said it was “total disrespect” by someone engaged in a stunt and raised huge issues around security. She said there needed to be a thorough investigation to get to the bottom of it.

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said the issue was “much ado about nothing”.

He said: “We have far more important things to deal with in terms of the challenges we face at the moment. I do appreciate our colleagues in unionism were concerned about it. Some in unionism overreacted to it.”

Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan said the incident was provocative and unhelpful.

The Taoiseach, Tánaiste Joan Burton, Ms Foster, Mr McGuinness and Mr Flanagan also discussed the ongoing budget crisis that is threatening to consume Stormont.