Former IRA man says McElduff video was 'blatant sectarianism'
A former IRA man who quit the terror group after the Kingsmill atrocity in 1976 has said he believes Barry McElduff's video was "blatant sectarianism".
Martin McAllister rejected Mr McElduff’s argument that he hadn’t seen the connection between the Kingsmill loaf on his head and the IRA massacre.
He told the BBC: “I couldn’t understand how somebody could pull in a minibus full of ordinary people — Protestant people — line them up and shoot them in the name of some cause.
“I fear that he [Mr McElduff] did know what he was doing.
“To put it in perspective, I can’t hear the name Kingsmill bread mentioned without immediately flashing back to what happened. So how could he miss that?”
He described Mr McElduff’s stunt as “profound, disgusting sectarianism”, and said republicanism had not come to terms with its responsibility for Kingsmill.
“I’ve had this out with people on quite a few occasions, and there is a proclivity out there to try and divert away attention from the fact that republicans did this by saying, ‘Well, it was in a certain context at that time’. There is no excuse for what happened.”
Last night, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he hoped voters in the constituency of West Tyrone remembered the actions of Mr McElduff at the next election.
Mr Varadkar said the extraordinary social media post mocking the victims was “egregious”, “hurtful” and “unacceptable”.
Speaking to reporters, Mr Varadkar said: “I think what Mr McElduff did was very foolish and very inappropriate and very hurtful to the families of people who were killed in that awful atrocity.
“Obviously it’s up to Sinn Fein to decide how they discipline their own members and given his previous content on social media I think perhaps it was a genuine error of judgment rather than an attempt to deliberately insult the families of victims. Nonetheless it was egregious and unacceptable.
“I hope that, when he runs for re-election, and if he runs for re-election, that people of his constituency will decide to elect somebody with a little bit more character.”
Meanwhile a fresh Twitter row erupted last night after a DUP Assembly member tweeted a graphic political sketch on the Kingsmill controversy. It appeared to depict the aftermath of the outrage, with blood running from a bullet-riddled van.
The cartoon is titled ‘Sinn Fein’s red lines’, and beside the van is a caricature of Sinn Fein MP Barry McElduff and a speech bubble saying: “Equality!”
Alliance leader Naomi Long urged South Belfast MLA Christopher Stalford to delete the post.
“Christopher, please. Remove this,” she tweeted. “Stop this gruesome tit for tat and show some leadership and respect.”
She added: “Don’t be part of politicising what was an obscene atrocity. Be better than this.”
Above the image, Mr Stalford wrote “Sinn Fein: offended by everything and ashamed of nothing.”
He later tweeted that he would not delete the post at the “behest of the Sinn Fein Twitter mob” and would only take it down if someone connected to the massacre asked him to.