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'McElduff's conscience has caught up with him'

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

'McElduff's conscience has caught up with him' thumbnail

THE sister of one of the victims of the Kingsmills massacre has said that Barry McElduff's "conscience has finally caught up with him" following his decision to resign as the MP for West Tyrone.

Mr McElduff's decision came after he had posted a video of himself on Twitter with a loaf of Kingsmill bread on his head.

It was published on the 42nd anniversary of the Kingsmills massacre.

The sister of Robert Walker, May Quinn, described the video as "the lowest of the low". Her brother Robert was the driver of the bus and was one of the 10 Protestant workmen shot dead.

"McElduff's conscience has finally caught up with him," said Mrs Quinn.

"Since the video appeared on the anniversary it has been in my thoughts every day and I would not have been happy at all for him to continue in office.

"How could he remain an MP after doing what he did? It was the lowest of the low."

Mrs Quinn welcomed Sinn Fein MLA John O'Dowd's comments last week when he described what happened at Kingsmills as "shameful" on BBC's The View.

She said his remarks appeared to be genuine and while she was surprised by them, she also welcomed his comments.

Mrs Quinn now wants an admission that it was the IRA who carried out the Kingsmills atrocity and to confirm, with the victims, the names of the those who carried out the massacre.

Meanwhile, Bea Worton, mother of Kenneth Worton, who was gunned down in the attack, added that the pressure placed on Sinn Fein made it "impossible for McElduff to remain in the party".

"McElduff resigning is the news we wanted to hear," said Mrs Worton.

"We felt very let down by the suspension as this wasn't a punishment at all."

 Sinn Fein suspended Mr McElduff from party activities for a period of three months last Monday (January 8), but after making the decision to tender his resignation as West Tyrone MP yesterday (Monday), he said he did not make the connection in his mind between the video and the massacre, but he accepted many people did not believe that.

Mr McElduff added that his "greatest regret" was causing unnecessary hurt to the families of the victims of Kingsmills.

"I again offer my profound apology to those families and to the wider victims community," he said.

"Had I been conscious of the connection to the terrible atrocity at Kingsmills 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.

"Kingsmills was wrong, unjustifiable and sectarian. It should never have happened.

"There was no intended reference to Kingsmills in my tweet. But I do 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."

Stating that he cannot undo the pain his video had caused, Mr McElduff said that continuing as MP for West Tyrone will "impede any reconciliation process".

 "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 Kingsmills," he added.

Sinn Fein's Northern Leader Michelle O'Neill MLA, explained that Mr McElduff informed her of his decision on Sunday night and that he did so because of the "unintended hurt" caused to the Kingsmills victims' families.

 

"Barry recognises that this controversy and his continuing role in public office is compounding the distress to the victims of Kingsmills, and again offers his profound apology to those families and to the wider victim's community," she said.

"He has said that he does not want to be a barrier to reconciliation and I respect that decision."

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