Brother of Kingsmill victim condemns attack on memorial

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The brother of one of 10 Protestant workmen killed in one of the most infamous atrocities of the Troubles has condemned an attack on a memorial to the victims.

Wreaths and flowers left by families in memory of their loved ones killed at Kingsmill, Co Armagh, in 1976 were thrown on to the road and an Irish flag was nailed to the stone structure covering the memorial plaque.

The damage was discovered early on Monday.

It is the fourth time the memorial has been attacked since it was erected in 2013.

The PSNI has issued an appeal for information about the attack, which it is treating as a sectarian-motivated hate crime.

Colin Worton, whose brother Kenneth was killed at Kingsmill, described those behind the attack as mindless.

“By mindlessly attacking the Kingsmill monument these cowards are continuing to honour what happened on January 5 1976. Until evil is condemned outrightly by every decent human being these sick events will still take place,” he said.

He urged Sinn Fein – a party which previously spoke for the Provisional IRA, linked to the attack – to condemn the desecration of the memorial.

Newry and Armagh MP Mickey Brady, of Sinn Fein, described the latest attack on the memorial as “inexcusable” and “repugnant”.

“Everyone must have the right to remember their loved ones with dignity and respect,” he posted on Twitter.

The attack on the memorial has been condemned by local political representatives in the area.

DUP MLA William Irwin described those behind it as “the lowest of the low”.

“It is sickening that someone would take it upon themselves to desecrate the memorial in this way and cause yet further pain and anguish to the families of the victims of this horrific attack,” he said.

“I would appeal to anyone who may have witnessed anything suspicious in the vicinity or vehicles in the vicinity of the memorial, to contact the PSNI and assist with their inquiries.”

Ulster Unionist councillor David Taylor said he was appalled by the attack.

“It is truly horrifying that an incident so sinister in nature has taken place at the Kingsmill memorial. Unfortunately, however, this is not the first time that an attack has taken place at the site,” he said.

“My thoughts, first and foremost, are with the Kingsmill families who are understandably very distressed at this attack on the memorial.”

Alliance deputy leader Stephen Farry said the attack was “disgusting”.

“There is no place whatsoever in our society for the desecration of memorials to the deceased, particularly those who died in such a nakedly sectarian attack,” he said.

A PSNI spokesman appealed for anyone with knowledge of the incident to come forward.

“Police are treating this as a sectarian-motivated hate crime and are appealing for anyone who witnessed the incident or who noticed any unusual activity in the area to contact police at Newtownhamilton police station on 101 quoting reference 246 30/07/18.”

The Kingsmill murders are among the most notorious of the Troubles.

On January 5 1976, a workers’ minibus was pulled over by gun men.

Each of the men were asked their religion, and the only Catholic was ordered to run away.

The killers, who had been hidden in the hedges, forced the 11 remaining men to line up outside the van before opening fire. One man – Alan Black – survived despite being shot 18 times.

While the murders have long been linked to the IRA, the organisation itself never admitted responsibility.

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