Belfast Telegraph

Dodds: I challenge O’Neill to condemn Kingsmill atrocity

By Claire O'Boyle

A fresh row emerged last night between Sinn Fein and the DUP after Nigel Dodds called on Michelle O'Neill to condemn the Kingsmill massacre.

The MP for North Belfast claimed much of the outcry following the Barry McElduff Twitter storm was down to the fact it "laid bare a wider attitude of disrespect towards the victims of terrorism".

Mr Dodds said: "The video was not so much an isolated incident but rather the clearest example of how Sinn Fein has treated those who suffered at the hands of the IRA."

He went on to challenge the Sinn Fein leader to apologise to the Kingsmill families, and to condemn the "sectarian and barbaric crime".

The DUP deputy leader said: "It would be a repugnant situation were Michelle O'Neill to be proud of the Kingsmill murderers, but apologising for Barry McElduff's mockery. Does she stand with her SF councillors who eulogise Raymond McCreesh and those who carried out the Kingsmill atrocity?"

Mr Dodds went on to recall the Castlederg parade, and claimed Sinn Fein organised a commemoration for IRA terrorists "which they deliberately routed past the site of an IRA murder".

"Let's also remember Michelle O'Neill's Sinn Fein continues to sell IRA T-shirts on its website proclaiming 'IRA - Undefeated Army'," he said.

"Let's remember only weeks ago that Sinn Fein's conference broke into applause when Foyle MP Elisha McCallion said Martin McGuinness was a 'proud member of the IRA'."

Mr Dodds added Mrs O'Neill cannot expect respect while "repeatedly adding to the pain of victims".

"There needs to be clear condemnation of sectarian murder and respect shown to innocent victims," he said.

However Sinn Fein hit back, saying: "Sinn Fein won't be taking any lectures from the DUP given its continued association with the representatives of active loyalist paramilitary groups.

"The DUP were endorsed during the recent Westminster election by representatives of loyalist paramilitary groups still involved in murder, drug dealing, intimidation and extortion.

"The DUP should make it clear that they are no longer prepared to accept the support of groups who gunned down a man in a Bangor car park in front of his child just days before the election."

Meanwhile, the sole survivor of the Kingsmill massacre has said the events of the past week have made the memories a hundred time worse for him.

On January 5, 1976, workmen in a minibus were stopped by gunmen near the village of Kingsmill in rural south Armagh.

The 12 workmen were lined up by the side of the minibus and the only Catholic among them was ordered to flee.

Ten of the men, who were Protestants, were then shot dead. No one has ever been held accountable for the murders.

Speaking on Pat Kenny's Newstalk radio show, survivor Alan Black expressed his anguish.

He said: "The events of these past few days have made it 100 times worse. What I seen that night on that road, then to see a man mocking, actually nearly celebrating, their death that was awful hard to take."

West Tyrone MP Mr McElduff was suspended for three months on full pay from party activities with Sinn Fein.

"It's not for me to tell Sinn Fein what to do," he said.

"I talk to people when I walk up the street, working fellas, and they say 'I wish somebody would give me three months holiday with pay'. That is the attitude people around here have.

"I keep well away from politics, I am not political in any way. I just have no faith in the politics in this country."

Alan explained that he still can't understand how and why no one was questioned on the atrocity.

"There was no will to go after them," he said.

"It's a dirty game played by dirty people. There is so much information but the authorities don't want to hand it over."

Yesterday, the President of the Methodist Church in Ireland, Dr Laurence Graham, expressed his sympathy to all the family members and friends of those killed by the IRA at Kingsmill. The churchman said his message was for those "whose wounds have been re-opened by the action of Barry McElduff MP".

Dr Graham said: "Such an action in uploading this video falls far short of a Member of Parliament and is rightly deplored by all right thinking people.

"Mr McElduff, as a member of Sinn Fein, should have shown the respect which his party advocates for others."

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