Belfast Telegraph

Kingsmill families welcome police decision to quiz McElduff over video

BY Rebecca Black

Victims who felt they had been mocked by former Sinn Fein MP Barry McElduff have welcomed news that he has been questioned by police over the incident.

Mr McElduff resigned his West Tyrone seat in January after a video he posted on Twitter sparked fury and disgust across Northern Ireland.

During the short clip, he was seen balancing a loaf of Kingsmill bread on his head.

He posted it on the 42nd anniversary of the Kingsmill massacre in south Armagh, during which 10 Protestant workmen were shot dead by the IRA.

Mr McElduff issued an apology and said he had not realised it was the anniversary of the killings.

A PSNI spokesman last night confirmed that a 51-year-old man had been interviewed by detectives investigating complaints about a video uploaded to social media in January.

He was interviewed in relation to alleged offences under the Communications Act 2003 and the Public Order (Northern Ireland) Order 1989. Detective Chief Superintendent Tim Mairs said: "The male attended Omagh police station voluntarily this afternoon, Thursday, March 8, by prior arrangement. A report will now be prepared for the Public Prosecution Service."

A solicitor for Mr McElduff said: "Barry McElduff attended Omagh PSNI station upon a voluntary basis at the request of police.

"As per his apology of January 6, 2018, to the victims of the Kingsmill atrocity, Mr McElduff reiterated to police that he in no way intended to cause offence or hurt to anyone.

"He did not realise that his social media post coincided with the Kingsmill anniversary, rather the post was spontaneous and not premeditated.

"Barry McElduff has co-operated fully with his party and police in their investigations.

"He has resigned his seat for West Tyrone, and has no further comment to make until investigations are finalised."

The families of some of the men killed at Kingsmill welcomed the move.

Speaking on behalf of the families, Pastor Barry Halliday praised efforts of detectives.

"Firstly, we must commend the PSNI for their dedication and continued liaison with the families," he said.

"In the past, we have been critical of police (but) we welcome the manner in which this complaint and investigation have been handled.

"Finally, after 42 years, police are questioning a republican about Kingsmill, albeit for glorification.

"Mr McElduff's actions should not be underestimated. His crass comedy finally caught up with him. His sickening glorification was widely condemned (as) causing much hurt to the families.

"We hope the police bring forward recommendations for prosecution and we have every confidence that our complaint is being dealt with in a robust manner."

A date for a by-election to fill the vacant West Tyrone Westminster seat has yet to be called. There has been speculation that victims may unite to support a candidate for the seat.

Sinn Fein has selected solicitor Orfhlaith Begley (26) as its candidate for the by-election.

Belfast Telegraph

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.


From Belfast Telegraph