Playing the state’s game

In examining the whole sordid affair around Barry McElduff’s video and the Kingsmill massacre, I looked back at the records of that time – the brutal mid-Seventies – and something occurred to me that hadn’t before.

The big picture in all this is found when you look at the circumstances of the Kingsmill massacre and what preceded it – the murder of several Catholics by the notorious ‘Glennane gang’.


The view now is that most of these killings, including Kingsmill, were carried out with the involvement of ‘state agents’: hence why no one has ever been held accountable for Kingsmill, in spite of the fact that up to a dozen IRA men were involved. The state had an agent or agents to protect.

Kingsmill survivor, Alan Black:

‘I don’t like conspiracy theories,” he said. “I have tried my best to put another explanation on it. But I can’t. There are too many unanswered questions. Why was the investigation never pursued? The police just turned their backs on us.’

Kingsmill massacre

(Police took 25 minutes to arrive and Bessbrook army base was very close by, with a quick reaction unit.)

Joint statement by the Reavey and O’Dowd families who had six family members killed by the Glennane gang the day before Kingsmill killings:

“Secretary of State Theresa Villiers is demanding the right to censor information from reports intended for families on so-far undefined grounds of ‘national security’. Whose ‘national security’, we are bound to ask?”

Scene of attack on Reavey home

This is why we will never have any ‘Truth & Reconciliation’ process here – the British state has too much to hide.

Nairac worked with both republicans and loyalists

Brian Rowan (former BBC Security correspondent):

‘It has got to the point where collusion is no longer contested. It is a conflict fact, with the only arguments and debates now around the scale and definition of what happened.’

Because of the British state’s involvement in killings on both sides, the many victims in our society will not be given any closure. Their pain will continue and this will make any progress towards a genuinely peaceful society impossible.

On a much wider issue, it may explain the British reluctance to withdraw from here: they simply cannot afford to lose control. If they did, they would risk their crimes here being exposed by an independent government post-British rule.


By the same logic, it also means that it is in the interests of the state to keep us divided and at each others’ throats about our unresolved past; that way we won’t come together and demand a Truth & Reconciliation process or run one jointly ourselves independent of the state.


Makes you wonder why the Executive was brought down when it was.

Brian Walker (former BBC journalist and editor) writing in June 2016 – less than six months before the BBC revelations that destroyed the Executive:

‘Hints are constantly being dropped that the Executive are close to agreement about setting up the new institutions to deal with the past, basically as laid out in the Haass report two years ago.’


So while we bite lumps out of each other over instances like McElduff’s video (I’m as guilty as anyone of that), we are behaving as the state wishes us to and simply postponing the day when our society can heal.

One thing this episode should teach us is that this society must come together – if only to demand that its past is properly dealt with  – otherwise we are guilty of allowing ourselves to be manipulated by a callous state and  we will condemn ourselves and our children to the same dance of death for all eternity.