Taoiseach Responds on Kingsmill Files

NEWS FROM THE CELTIC LEAGUE

The Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, has said he will honour a promise (made to relatives of those who died in the Kingsmill massacre in N. Ireland in January 1976) that Garda files on the attack will be released to a Coroner in Belfast currently conducting an inquest into the events. Indeed his Office indicates the process has already begun.

The Celtic League wrote to his Office earlier this month urging that the pledge he gave should be honoured and reiterating our contention that not only should Irish authorities release what detail they have an incidents attributable to republican groups but that the British authorities should be more open on releasing the files they hold on loyalist and security forces incidents

A copy of the correspondence from the Taoiseach is set out below:

“Oifig an Taoisigh
Office of the Taoiseach

24th June2015

Mr. Bernard Moffatt
Director of Information
Celtic League
3 Imman Stronnag
Peel
Isle of Man
1M5 1GP

Dear Mr. Moffatt,

The Taoiseach has asked me to thank you for your recent letter to him of 1 June regarding the Kingsmill files.

At the outset, the Taoiseach would like to say that he is very aware of the tragic human cost the troubles on this island has exacted in terms of lives lost, people injured and families bereaved. It has always been a priority of this Government, in seeking to address the legacy of the Troubles, to prioritise the needs and interests of the victims of violence. However, there is no doubt that addressing the legacy of the conflict on this island is a complex and difficult process, and there are no easy answers to dealing with the past.

In relation to legacy issues in general, the Taoiseach believes it is significant for victims and survivors of the Northern Ireland conflict that the Stormont House Agreement provides for a comprehensive framework for dealing with the legacy of the past. The establishment of the institutions for dealing with the legacy of the past remains a priority for Government, and good progress is being made in this regard.

In relation to the Kingsmill files, as you are aware last March the Taoiseach met with the Kingsmill families and took the opportunity to visit the monument to the victims in Bessbrook. The Taoiseach assured the families of his Government’s commitment to addressing the legacy of the troubles, and to the commitment to full co-operation with the Kingsmill inquest in accordance with the law.

Particular legal issues arose in the process of the preparation of material for an Garda Síochána to transmit to the Coroner in relation to the inquest. However, the Government has now considered these issues very carefully, and has identified a way forward to help provide a legal mechanism for An Garda Síochána in transmitting material. This involved making regulations under the Data Protection Acts and the issuing of a directive by the Minister for Justice and Equality under the Garda Síochána Act, 2005. This has facilitated the Garda authorities and the process of transferring relevant material to the Coroner has now begun

The Garda authorities will continue to work with the Northern Ireland Coroner to ensure that the greatest amount of material possible, in accordance with the law, can be provided in support of the inquest.

Yours sincerely

Teresa Doolan
Taoiseach’s Private Office”

Related links:

Our original correspondence and press release.

Report on Kingsmill Massacre

Correspondence and press release to NI Secretary Theresa Villiers about files relating to Loyalist/Security Force attacks.

J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information
Celtic League

27/06/15

(Please note that replies to correspondence received by the League and posted on CL News are usually scanned hard copies. Obviously every effort is made to ensure the scanning process is accurate but sometimes errors do occur.)

ISSUED BY THE CELTIC LEAGUE INFORMATION SERVICE.

The Celtic League was established in 1961 and has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues

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