Michelle O'Neill: Barry McElduff a champion for West Tyrone, Sinn Fein sanction proportionate and O Muilleoir issue dealt with
Sinn Fein Northern Ireland leader Michelle O'Neill has said Barry McElduff's three-month suspension from the party on full pay for his Kingsmill video was "proportionate" and the matter of Mairtin O Muilleoir retweeting the post has been settled.
The MLA said it took Mr McElduff 10 days to resign as he had taken the time to reflect on his actions and the reaction it generated before coming to the decision.
The Sinn Fein leader was speaking to the media after the West Tyrone MP announced he was standing down for the video he posted posing with a loaf of bread on his head on the anniversary of the Kingsmill massacre.
At a press conference, Ms O'Neill would only take questions from broadcast journalists and the Press Association. Three print journalists in attendance were blocked from asking questions.
Ms O'Neill described Mr McElduff as a "champion" for the people of West Tyrone for many years and thanked him for his commitment.
She defended not taking stronger action on Barry McElduff last week. After Sinn Fein chairman Declan Kearney condemned the video as "inexcusable and indefensible," the MP was given a three-month suspension from the party on full pay and was allowed to continue his work from his constituency office.
"I believe the action I took was proportionate," said Ms O'Neill.
"He caused hurt and didn't intend to do so, on reflection Barry himself does not want to be barrier to reconciliation he recognises that is a must if we are going to create a new society and I accept his decision. "
"I accept this is the best way forward.
She continued: "We have to heal the wounds of the past if we are going to create a new society and that means embracing all victims and their needs. It also means the implementation of previous agreements and the Stormont House Agreement."
The Mid Ulster MLA said her party were determined to restore the Stormont institutions which have laid dormant for the past year.
Asked if there would be any action taken after Sinn Fein MLA Mairtin O Muilleoir retweeted the video before later apologising, Ms O'Neill responded: "I spoke with Mairtin and he needs to consider his social media use, he needs to be more responsible in his social media use and that is the matter dealt with."
Belfast Telegraph Digital