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McElduff's daughter voted for Alliance in poll

By Suzanne Breen

A daughter of former Sinn Fein West Tyrone MP Barry McElduff has revealed that she voted for the Alliance Party in last week's by-election - which was caused by her father's resignation.

Blathnaid McElduff tweeted on polling day last Thursday: "Voting @allianceparty for the first time today @SteveDonnelly95."

Mr Donnelly, the Alliance candidate, replied: "Great to have your support, Blathnaid! #ChangeForGood."

Ms McElduff's message of support was retweeted by Alliance headquarters and Stewart Dickson MLA.

It was 'liked' by other Alliance members and politicians, including deputy leader Stephen Farry.

Sinn Fein's vote fell by almost 6,000 in the election with some supporters loyal to Mr McElduff choosing to stay at home rather than vote for party candidate Orfhlaith Begley. Some local republicans accused the party of abandoning him.

Ms Begley still won the election comfortably with an 8,000 majority over her nearest rival, the DUP's Tom Buchanan.

Mr McElduff, who was an MLA for almost 20 years before he was elected to Westminster, resigned in January amidst outrage after he posed with a Kingsmill loaf on his head on the anniversary of the Kingsmill massacre.

The Sinn Fein politician, who was known for posing with objects on his head and posting the videos on social media, apologised and said it was an awful coincidence. But that failed to stop the wave of anger.

He was suspended for three months by Sinn Fein but he resigned a few days later.

His two daughters protested their father's innocence on social media in January.

Blathnaid, who worked in McCullagh's Classic Service Station where Mr McElduff made the video, said: "I send my da to get a loaf of bread and he gets suspended for three months because he happened to pick Kingsmill bread on the anniversary of the Kingsmill massacre. Coincidences aren't allowed apparently."

Mr McElduff's other daughter Niamh, who describes herself as a Sinn Fein activist, said her father was "a good person" and questioned why he would set out to mock 10 murder victims.

"It makes no logical, political or personal sense," she tweeted.

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