Belfast Telegraph

Parties united in condemnation of 'disgraceful and appalling' Kingsmill stunt

By Adrian Rutherford

Barry McElduff's Kingsmill video has exposed Sinn Fein's equality and respect campaign as a sham, UUP leader Robin Swann has claimed.

Mr McElduff apologised after he was filmed walking around a shop with a Kingsmill loaf on his head in a clip posted on the 42nd anniversary of the massacre near the south Armagh village.

The footage, published shortly after 12am on Friday, has drawn strong criticism from unionist and nationalist politicians.

Mr Swann called for Mr McElduff's resignation, and said Sinn Fein's oft-repeated phrase during the power-sharing crisis that it will only return to Stormont if the institutions operated on the basis of respect, honesty and integrity, was in tatters.

"What Barry McElduff has done is expose the Sinn Fein campaign based on rights, equality and respect for what it is - a sham," he said.

Referring to Gerry Adams's impending departure, Mr Swann added: "Sinn Fein might change their leaders in Northern Ireland and the Republic, they might change their president, but they're still the same Sinn Fein - glorifying murderers and continuing to mock their victims.

"Whilst that attitude continues, and they continue to be pandered to, there will be little hope of a better future for all our children."

Former UUP MLA Danny Kennedy, who worked closely with the Kingsmill families, said the post was "disgraceful and disgusting".

"He is unfit to be a public representative and he and his party should be ashamed and apologise," Mr Kennedy said.

"This is a difficult time for the families, relatives and friends of those who were murdered on January 5, 1976, this really adds pain and hurt."

DUP MP Emma Little Pengelly said it was a test of the Sinn Fein leadership's commitment to "respect, honesty and integrity".

She added: "The party's West Tyrone MP posted a grossly offensive video. People across these islands have condemned the video mocking the Kingsmill massacre. He should hang his head in shame."

The South Belfast MP accused senior Sinn Fein party figures of going silent on an issue she said had sparked "incredible outrage throughout the community".

Fellow DUP MP Paul Girvan said: "They preach respect. Yet they offer none.

"They talk of reconciliation. Yet they insult and mock victims.

"They show absolutely no remorse, but rather glorify and revel in the evil they inflicted on the people of Northern Ireland."

Newry and Armagh DUP MLA William Irwin said: "Given Sinn Fein's repeated insensitivity to victims and glorification of terrorists, PIRA victims throughout the United Kingdom have interpreted this video as a calculated and deliberate insult."

Mr McElduff has been summoned to meet the party leadership today.

He has apologised for Friday's post, insisting it was not meant as a reference to the massacre.

West Tyrone SDLP MLA Daniel McCrossan said Mr McElduff had no choice but to say sorry.

"Barry McElduff styles himself as a class clown but clearly this time his comments have, deliberately or not, crossed a line. It's right that he has apologised," he said.

Party colleague Claire Hanna said: "We overuse words like shocking and appalling but I really can't think of another way to describe Barry McElduff's video."

TUV leader Jim Allister said the video was "tasteless beyond belief".

He added: "Sinn Fein's utter contempt for victims is clearly on display here.

"Any talk of equality or human rights from that party is once again exposed as so much cant and hypocrisy."

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