The Kingsmills massacre has now emerged as part of a wide ranging IRA plan to drive “all Protestants” from south Armagh, a commemoration of the atrocity has heard.
Ten Protestant workmen were gunned down by the IRA at Kingsmills in south Armagh on January 5, 1976, as they returned home from work.
On Thursday morning dozens of relatives and friends attended a roadside service at the scene in their memory.
Pastor Barrie Halliday told them: “Everybody – including the media – wants to portray Kingsmills in light of the 24 hours beforehand.” The UVF killed three members of the Reavey family nearby the previous night.
However, since the Kingsmills inquest began in May “more and more people are coming forward” to reveal an orchestrated campaign of murder and “mass intimidation of local Protestant farmers” in the six months before Kingsmills, he said.
DUP councillor Gareth Wilson added: “It was no accident, Kingsmills was planned and planned for some time, as we have found out in the various inquest stages.”
An Historical Enquiries Team report in 2011 previously confirmed his claims.
Victims’ campaigner Willie Frazer noted that four months before, the IRA had killed five men at nearby Tullyvallen Orange Hall and tried to attack another Orange Hall the same night.
“They said Kingsmills had to happen – but they had Kingsmills already planned. So don’t tell us Kingsmills had to happen to put manners on the Protestants of south Armagh. They always intended to do this in south Armagh.
“There was a campaign to drive the Protestant people out of south Armagh. And we have even had people from the nationalist community – Catholics – now come to us and told us: ‘Yes that is what was going on’.”
UUP MLA Danny Kennedy told the crowd that he would “continue to press for truth to emerge finally about the events surrounding Kingsmills”.
Bea Worton, 90, lost her son Kenneth in the atrocity, aged only 24. Speaking after the event, she said: “He was a lovely lad. He loved everybody. All his friends were all Catholics. He hadn’t a bad word to say about anybody.”