Belfast Telegraph

DUP challenges Sinn Fein candidate Órfhlaith Begley to answer questions on Kingsmill Massacre ahead of west Tyrone by-election

By Mark Edwards

The DUP has challenged Sinn Fein candidate Órfhlaith Begley to answer two questions about the Kingsmill Massacre ahead of the west Tyrone by-election.

The by-election was triggered by the resignation of Sinn Fein MP Barry McElduff after a scandal erupted when he posted a video posing with a loaf of Kingsmill bread on his head on the anniversary of the Kingsmill Massacre.

Sinn Fein selected 26-year-old Órfhlaith Begley to stand as the Sinn Fein candidate for the seat.

Ahead of the by-election, which takes place next Thursday, DUP candidate Tom Buchanan challenged his Sinn Fein opponent to “speak honestly” about her views on Barry McElduff’s video and whether she supports the naming of a playground in Newry after IRA man Raymond McCreesh, who was arrested in possession of a gun used at the Kingsmill Massacre.

Gunmen stopped a minibus carrying eleven Protestant workmen in 1976. The men were then shot one by one, with one victim, Alan Black, survived the atrocity.

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Tom Buchanan, DUP MLA

Mr Buchanan asked the following questions:

1. Does she condemn Barry McElduff’s outrageous video which mocked the Kingsmills victims on the anniversary of the atrocity?

2. Does she condemn the naming of a playground after Raymond McCreesh who was arrested in possession of a gun used at Kingsmills?

In response to the questions a Sinn Fein spokesperson said: “Sinn Féin have already made our position very clear on both these 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.”

Mr Buchanan said: “Sinn Fein scriptwriters are carefully managing Órfhlaith 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 ten 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 Kingsmills. I am humbled by the support from all across the constituency.”

Next week's by-election is also being contested by SDLP MLA Daniel McCrossan, Alliance party candidate Stephen Donnelly and the UUP's Chris Smyth.

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