John O’Dowd condemns Kingsmills Massacre

John O'Dowd MLA
John O'Dowd MLA

A former Sinn Fein Stormont minister has come out to condemn the Kingsmills massacre.

John O’Dowd was speaking on the BBC programme The View on Thursday night.

Ten Protestant workmen were gunned down by the IRA at Kingsmills in south Armagh on 5 January 1976.

The IRA never claimed the attack and Sinn Fein has never accepted that the IRA was responsible.

However the Historical Enquiries Team and PSNI have both independently blamed the IRA.

Sinn Fein MP Barry McElduff caused outrage when he published a spoof video of himself with a loaf of Kingsmills bread on his head on the anniversary of the massacre last week.

Mr O’Dowd last night condemned the 1976 massacre.

“It is shameful what happened on the roadside in south Armagh that night, absolutely shameful and as a republican I am ashamed of it,” he told the BBC.

“Those who carried it out did not advance the cause of Irish unity in any way.”

He added: “I am not surprised the Kingsmills families are so annoyed and will not accept what Sinn Fein has said [that the video was not intended to offend them] because republicans have hurt them and harmed them.”

He went on: “The families of Kingsmills have a right to access justice.”

Many other families whose loved ones were killed in the Troubles also deserve justice, he said.

He noted that he has a number of relatives murdered by loyalists the day before in Lurgan and in south Armagh.

The UUP’s Danny Kennedy, whose has campaigned alongside the Kingsmills families, said earlier this week that Sinn Fein has never offered any support to the ongoing legacy inquest into the massacre.

Likewise, Colin Worton, whose brother Kenneth was killed at Kingsmills, noted this week that Sinn Fein still refuses to accept that the IRA carried out the attack.

Sinn Fein suspended Mr McElduff for three months, although there was widespread expectation that he would be relieved of his position.

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