09 January 2006

Relatives of Kingsmills victims offended by Tricolours

Belfast Telegraph

By Michael McHugh
09 January 2006

Republicans who erected Tricolours on land vacated by the Army in south Armagh have been dubbed "ghoulish" by victims' representatives commemorating the 30th anniversary of the Kingsmills massacre.

UUP Armagh Assemblyman Danny Kennedy voiced his criticism after republicans gathered on Saturday at a series of former watchtower and Army installation points in the border region to erect flags.

Relatives of the 10 men shot dead on their way home from work gathered at Bessbrook, where nine of the deceased lived, for an emotional service yesterday, hours after republicans held their own ceremony.

Although organisers have denied any connection to Kingsmills, Mr Kennedy said it would be seen as offensive by those who had suffered.

"It is ghoulish timing and it is an indication that there are those in society who are devoid of compassion for the relatives of those who died at Kingsmills," he said.

"For an event like this to take place on the same weekend that relatives are marking the 30th anniversary of their loss is a disgrace."

The events held across south Armagh were organised by the South Armagh Demilitarisation Committee and follows moves by the Army to reduce its presence in the border area.

Sources associated with the committee said the criticism was petty and insisted they did intend to offend victims.

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