Representing Victims of Terrorism in South Armagh
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As victims mark the anniversary of the massacre at Kingsmills this weekend it is timely for us all to reflect on the year that has passed. For victims it has been a painful year and one that has left a sense of betrayal and isolation. It is events such as this which serve to remind us exactly what Sinn Fein/IRA did to achieve their current position. However this weekend victims will focus on the loss of past years. Today a short memorial service was postponed due to the weather conditions but a number of the families will conditions allowing travel to the site to mark the exact anniversary and spot of the atrocity.

As a group we have assured those left behind that we are unflinchingly committed to fighting for justice and bringing the murderers to book. FAIR has repeatedly called for investigations to be made into the murders, and has passed over information detailing what happened that night and who was responsible to the PSNI. Finally we can announce progress in the case as a large amount of evidence relating to the case has been uncovered. It lends weight to what we have already supplied and confirms the role of many of the individuals we suspected. For example the confessions of a leading Republican terrorist believed to hold the key to Kingsmills and other killings which we were originally told could not be found has been secured.

The existence of this and other intelligence, ballistics and witness statements has offered the hope of progress as fresh eyes look over it. The statements made by McCooey who was arrested and charged as part of the murder gang involved in the atrocity at Tullyvallan and scores of other murders expose the truth of that night. McCooey who was a central figure in the Republican murder squads of South Armagh made substantial statements when arrested exposing other members of the murder gangs, their safe houses, weapons and other information. Most importantly it names those involved in the planning and execution of the Kingsmill massacre.

It is worthy of note that some of the weapons used in the Kingsmill Massacre were also employed in many other murders in the area including that of Bertie Frazer right through to that of Breen and Buchanan. The collusion between Garda and the IRA is another uncomfortable feature of these killings with the spotlight now firmly on informers and conspirators in the ranks of the Garda, and the use of the Republic as a safe haven for terrorists. This matter will feature heavily in future meetings with the Irish Government and will form the basis for a meeting we have with the Smithwick Tribunal later this month.

FAIR in its own investigations have spoken with police officers involved in investigations at this time and are confident that evidence exists that upon review the HET will find vital. Indeed one retired officer commented on the scale of the McCooey Confession and his co-operation “ We almost had the break the pen to get it out of his hand”. Further intelligence and contemporary evidence points the finger of suspicion to leading Republicans including some of those named in connection with the Omagh Bombing. Sadly we now believe that if several of those involved in Kingsmills had been dealt with at that time they would not have been behind the Omagh bomb. We now demand that those named are arrested and questioned with a view to charging them and that information gathered at the time be reassessed and that officers and detectives involved in the case be drawn upon to provide key information. Too many years of neglect have passed and decades with neither truth nor justice now we demand both. 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. We all have an obligation to these brave tragic people and as a group FAIR rededicated itself on 2008 to continue the struggle to ensure they are no longer forgotten


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