Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein candidate urged by DUP rival to condemn McElduff's Kingsmill video stunt

Tom Buchanan
Tom Buchanan
Orfhlaith Begley with Michelle O’Neill
Mark Edwards

By Mark Edwards

A Sinn Fein candidate has been urged to publicly condemn the offensive video clip that triggered the West Tyrone by-election.

Barry McElduff resigned in January amid fury after he posted a video showing himself with a loaf of Kingsmill bread on his head on the anniversary of the Kingsmill massacre, in which 10 Protestant workmen died.

Kingsmill was one of the worst atrocities of the Troubles.

Gunmen stopped a minibus carrying 11 Protestant workmen in January 1976.

The men were lined up beside the van and shot.

One victim, Alan Black, miraculously survived despite being hit by 18 bullets.

Mr McElduff apologised for posting the video that led to his resignation in January, and said he did not intend to cause offence to the families of those killed in the massacre.

Orfhlaith Begley (26) is standing for the party in Thursday's poll.

Yesterday she was challenged for her personal views on Kingsmill amid claims from her DUP rival her campaign was being managed by party scriptwriters.

Tom Buchanan urged her to speak honestly about her views on Mr McElduff's "outrageous" video.

He also called on her to say whether she supported the naming of a playground in Newry after IRA man Raymond McCreesh, who was arrested in possession of a gun used at Kingsmill.

Mr Buchanan said: "Sinn Fein scriptwriters are carefully managing Orfhlaith Begley's campaign.

"They don't want the Sinn Fein mask slipping again.

"They don't want West Tyrone voters seeing that they still mock innocent victims and glory in the past.

"I have knocked hundreds of doors in this campaign.

"People who have never voted DUP before are lending me their vote to send a message that innocent victims must be respected.

"Sinn Fein has failed to deal with victims.

"McCreesh Park is an embarrassment to any modern society.

"A play park named after a gunman linked to the murder of 10 innocent people - it is grotesque.

"West Tyrone neighbours may disagree about the constitutional question, but unionists and nationalists alike were ashamed of their MP's outburst about Kingsmill."

He added: "I am humbled by the support from all across the constituency."

In response, Sinn Fein said the party had already made its position "very clear" on both issues.

"Tom Buchanan is well aware of this, so we will not be commenting further on what is clearly a transparent attempt to exploit victims to generate coverage for himself in the run-up to an election," the party said.

Belfast Telegraph


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