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Last Updated: Friday, 29 December 2006, 10:51 GMT
Papers released on 'bloody 1976'
Kingsmill massacre
Ten Protestant workmen were killed in 1976 Kingsmill massacre
Previously confidential government files relating to 1976 have been released by the Public Records Office.

It was one of the bloodiest years of the Troubles, with 10 Protestant workmen murdered by the IRA in the Kingsmills massacre in County Armagh.

The IRA murdered British Ambassador to Ireland Sir Christopher Ewart-Biggs.

A total of 295 people died, and while little new emerges about any of these incidents, there is plenty of new detail about other events of the era.

Some of those events of 1976 still resonate today.

For example the opposition of the Catholic Church to integrated education is highlighted.

Originally held back

According to one memo, the then Cardinal Conway dismissed the idea of shared schools as "trivial, irrelevant and without popular support".

It was also the year of the Peace People, but the papers show that an NIO official said government assistance to them should be avoided, so as not to embarrass the movement.

Elsewhere, the papers show the current Ulster Unionist leader Sir Reg Empey warned the government in 1976 to back majority rule, while his predecessor David Trimble accused the party of self-deception.

DUP leader Ian Paisley is also mentioned in papers released from 1968 which were originally held back.

In one, an RUC inspector accuses him of inadvertently playing into the hands of civil rights activists through his policy of organising counter demonstrations to civil rights marches.

Government files relating to 1976 are released. Gareth Gordon reports.

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