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Representing Victims of Terrorism in South Armagh
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04/01/06
Victims Remember Kingsmills Massacre

As many families make plans for the New Year, holidays spending time with their children and a range of other activities we are mindful of those left bereaved by terrorism. The home shattered and the empty seat at a table reminders of the evil deeds perpetrated in our land. January is a particularly difficult time for the community of South Armagh as we remember the Kingsmills massacre the worst such atrocity of the Troubles. It was the culmination of a sectarian campaign of slaughter perpetrated by the Provisional IRA in South Armagh, despite claims that they were on ceasefire. The sense of bereavement amongst victims is only matched by the sense of betrayal as it becomes clear as the archives are opened that the British government was in secret negotiations with the terrorists involved in the murder of our loved ones.

Indeed the furtive dealings between the government and terrorists led to a scaling down of security and a soft approach to terrorism, as the government tried to extend the so-called ceasefire. In actual fact the ongoing contacts and their impact on the government's policy to terrorism amounts to collusion, an issue we will be pursuing this year. It is in memory of the victims that we as a group pursue justice and are prepared to hand over new evidence to police and the Historic Enquiries team this week. The new evidence which links the murder gang responsible for Kingsmills to up to eighty other murders in the area, will supplement that which we have already provided.

However until the government gives us the assurance that the Amnesty legislation will not be enacted we cannot provide what material we have. The fact that the current Bill would not only make our research and the police investigation redundant but would actually use the material we had collated to facilitate the release of the perpetrators is unacceptable. For example witnesses who have sworn affidavits would be exposed and dragged through a process where their evidence would be turned on its head and used to grant the terrorist they have identified an amnesty. The government must now choose are they interested in justice or not, if not then we have an obligation to preserve our evidence for use in civil proceedings initiated by the victims themselves.

We have seen much progress in the field of justice and reinvestigation as after long years of campaigning the government agreed to fund a process of cold case review and reinvestigation. Now as they attempt to undermine that progress we warn them that they will not go unchallenged. This week as the victims will meet to hold a memorial service at the site of the Kingsmills massacre, where they will commemorate the Thirtieth Anniversary of the murders. The Service will take place at 11.30 at the site of the killings which is half a mile past the village of Whitecross. There will also be a memorial church service in Bessbrook on Sunday which will be followed by wreath laying at the memorial in the town.

 



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