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Sinn Féin MP Barry McElduff to resign over Kingsmill loaf video

Last week the MP was suspended from the party for a period of three months for his actions.

barry Barry McElduff

SINN FÉIN’S BARRY Barry McElduff, who posted the controversial Kingsmill loaf video, has resigned as MP.

Announcing his resignation as West Tyrone MP, Barry McElduff said:

It is with great sadness that, after more than 30 years as an active Sinn Féin member and public representative I am tendering my resignation as MP for West Tyrone.
The reason I am doing so is because of the consequences of the Twitter video which has caused such controversy over the last week.But the deep and unnecessary hurt this video caused the families of the victims of Kingsmill is my greatest regret. I again offer my profound apology to those families and to the wider victims community.
Had I been conscious of the connection to the terrible atrocity at Kingsmill I would certainly not have posted that tweet. I genuinely did not make that connection, not for a second did I make that connection in my mind. Kingsmill was wrong, unjustifiable and sectarian. It should never have happened.

Earlier this month, Sinn Féin MP Barry McElduff posted a controversial video of himself balancing a loaf of ‘Kingsmill’ bread on his head on the anniversary of the Kingsmill massacre. He later deleted it from social media.

‘Deeply damaging to the reconciliation process’  

McElduff maintained in his statement this morning that there was no intended reference to Kingsmill in his tweet, but said he did accept that there are many people who do not believe this to be the case.

I accept also that this view of what happened is deeply damaging to the reconciliation process that is so important to consolidating the peace process and to healing the pain and hurt of the past.I cannot undo the pain caused but I know that my continuing role as MP for West Tyrone will compound that sense of hurt and impede any reconciliation process.

He again apologised for any upset and hurt the tweet caused.

I wish to wholeheartedly thank my family and friends for their steadfast personal support during this difficult time, and the people of West Tyrone whom I have had the privilege to serve as their public representative for over 20 years. I have a deep gra for my native county and its people.
I am an Irish republican and believe wholeheartedly in the reunification of our country and an agreed Ireland in which we heal the wounds of the past together.
Reconciliation is essential, but that message is not being heard at this time.I do not wish to be a barrier to reconciliation and healing and in that spirit I again offer my sincere apologies to the survivors and families of those murdered at Kingsmill.

The Kingsmill massacre, one of the worst single atrocities of the Troubles, saw a van carrying a group of textile workers killed by men disguised as British soldiers on 5 January 1976.

The IRA have never claimed responsibility for the attack, although an investigation by the North’s Historical Enquiries Team concluded in 2011 that it was responsible.

Following McElduff’s tweet, the sole survivor of the Kingsmill massacre said that the offensive Kingsmill video posted by Sinn Féin’s Barry McElduff was “depraved” and “succeeded in spades in the hurt that he caused”.

“What [Barry McElduff] did was dancing on their graves… [he] seemed to be celebrating their deaths. If he saw what I saw that day, he wouldn’t have done it,” Alan Black said.

There was outrage after McElduff tweeted the video, resulting in Sinn Féin suspending the MP from the party for a period of three months, with pay.

Over the weekend, pressure mounted on the party, with many criticising that the sanction was not sufficient.

“Unintended hurt”

Commenting on the resignation, Sinn Féin leader in the Northern Ireland Michelle O’Neill said McElduff informed her of his resignation yesterday evening.

“Barry is doing so as a consequence of the unintended hurt caused to the Kingsmill victims and their loved ones by his recent social media tweet.

“Barry recognises that this controversy and his continuing role in public office is compounding the distress to the victims of Kingsmill, and again offers his profound apology to those families and to the wider victim’s community,” she said, adding:

He has said that he does not want to be a barrier to reconciliation and I respect that decision.
Barry has served Sinn Féin and been a formidable champion for the people of West Tyrone at local government, Assembly and Westminster level over the past 20 years and has done so with great commitment, energy and determination.

O’Neill said she wanted to personally thank Barry and his family, Paula, Niamh, Blannid and Patrick.

“Over the coming weeks Sinn Féin will focus our full efforts on the restoration of the power-sharing institutions on the basis of equality, integrity and respect and fulfil the mandate we received from the electorate in two successive elections last year,” the statement concluded.

Read: Mary Lou says Kingsmill video hasn’t damaged Sinn Féin’s credibility>

Read: Kingsmill massacre survivor: ‘What Barry McElduff did was dancing on their graves’>

 

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