Sinn Fein members pledge their full support for McElduff after his 'sincere apology'
Senior Sinn Fein members have voiced their support for Barry McElduff, who has been suspended from the party over his controversial Kingsmill prank.
Posting on Facebook, fellow MP Michelle Gildernew said it had been a "tough day or two for Barry and his family. He's the last person to have deliberately caused offence".
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Sinn Fein MLA Colm Gildernew also backed the MP and said he thought Mr McElduff's apology was "sincere".
He tweeted: "I have known Barry McElduff for many years and consider him a true and valued friend. It is my belief that Barry would never intentionally insult or hurt any victim of this or any other conflict.
"It is my view that his swift and fulsome apology is both appropriate and sincere."
Donegal TD Pearse Doherty told RTE he didn't think Mr McElduff should lose his Westminster seat.
He said: "I don't think he should resign. I don't think he did it to upset the families or draw attention the matter, it was just a stupid thing he did.
"But he should have known better, as an MP, that that particular day and that that was very important."
However, party chairman Declan Kearney described the Twitter post as "inexcusable and indefensible".
He said: "Sinn Fein expects the highest standards of not only our members but our senior elected representatives. What has happened falls well short of those standards."
A Sinn Fein spokesperson said the party has social media guidelines which all party members are to asked to adhere to. He added: "In relation to the posts by Michelle Gildernew and Colm Gildernew, neither representative defended the post by Barry McElduff but did defend him."