Sinn Féin MP’s Kingsmill-murder tweet ‘like punch to stomach’

12 January 2018

PA

Barry McElduff leaves Sinn Fein's headquarters on the Falls Road, in Belfast, on Monday

Barry McElduff leaves Sinn Fein's headquarters on the Falls Road, in Belfast, on Monday

A SINN FÉIN MP who posted a tweet of himself wearing a loaf of Kingsmill bread on his head on the 42nd anniversary of an atrocity at Kingsmill, in County Armagh — in which the IRA murdered ten Protestant workers after stopping their van in darkness on their way home — has been suspended by the party for three months.

Unionists, including the leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), Arlene Foster, have condemned Sinn Féin’s action against the MP for West Tyrone, Barry McElduff, as being too lenient, despite his “unreserved apology”. Alan Black, a survivor of the attack, despite being hit by 18 bullets, refused to accept the apology.

“It was like a punch to the stomach, it was so callous. To mock the dead and dance on their graves is depraved,” Mr Black said. He believed that the tweet was designed to cause the greatest hurt to the victims’ families.

Ms Foster said that the punishment meted out to Mr McElduff by his party added insult to injury, and that a suspension of an MP who did not attend Westminster was entirely meaningless. The DUP MP Emma Little-Pengelly said: “That’s not a punishment: that’s a holiday.”

The leader of Sinn Féin in the Northern Ireland Assembly, Michelle O’Neill, said that the tweet was “ill-judged, indefensible, and caused hurt and pain to the victims of Kingsmill”.

She “wholeheartedly apologised” for any distress to the families.

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