Belfast Telegraph

If Barry McElduff was a man of principle he would walk: Kingsmill sole survivor Alan Black

The sole survivor of the Kingsmill massacre has said if Barry McElduff was a man of principle he would quit his public role.

Alan Black was speaking after the West Tyrone MP was handed a three-month suspension from Sinn Fein for a video in which he put a loaf of Kingsmill bread on his head, posting it on the anniversary of the 1976 atrocity.

Republican paramilitary gunmen stopped a van carrying textile workers in the south Armagh village of Kingsmill on their way home, identified the Protestant occupants, lined them up at the side of the road and shot them. They allowed one man, Richard Hughes, a Catholic, to walk free.

Alan Black survived the attack despite being shot 18 times. He said the three-month suspension was not sufficient.

"I watched all my friends being murdered, my 19-year-old apprentice crying for his mother, and then to watch on Friday a man standing and mocking their deaths, if he was a man of principle he would walk," he said.

After 35 hours Barry McElduff removed the offending post from social media and apologised saying it was never his intention to hurt the families and he did not realise the link to the anniversary of the sectarian killings.

After meeting with Sinn Fein senior membership on Monday he was suspended with full pay.

Mr Black accused Sinn Fein of "circling the wagons" around Mr McElduff.

"If he didn't know the fifth of January was the Kingsmill massacre, it's beyond me," he told UTV.

Bea Worton, whose son Kenneth was murdered, told the broadcaster Mr McElduff should have been "put out" of Sinn Fein.

"Mrs O'Neill wants equality, and that's the equality we get?," she said.

"We get no equality."

Son Colin said he had been initially heartened to hear Declan Kearney's strong condemnation on Monday morning saying the video was "indefensible".

"And then they came out and gave Barry McElduff three months suspended sentence," he told the BBC.

"They have saw a fire and instead of putting it out they have poured petrol over it and made it worse."

His sister Raquel Brush said she was disgusted and seething over the discipline handed out by the republican party in response: "Words can't describe it - it's laughable.

"You would give a child more for less."

Sinn Fein MLA Mairtin O Muilleoir retweeted the video. He later apologised but has so far escaped sanction from his party.

Former UUP MLA Danny Kennedy who has campaigned with the families for justice, said the anniversary of the sectarian killings was marred by the actions of Sinn Fein and others over past days.

He said the stress and distress caused by the video had been compounded by the "laughable sanction" handed down by Sinn Fein "and only to Mr McElduff" suggesting action should also be taken against the South Belfast MLA.

"He got a tame yellow card, when he deserved a straight red," he said in a statement.

"Sinn Fein still stand exposed for their treatment of innocent victims. Their calls for respect and equality ring hollow. I will continue to stand with the sole survivor and the families of Kingsmills in their dignified campaign.

"If you are not standing with the Kingsmills families, then you are not standing in the right place."

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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