Belfast Telegraph

DUP slams Sinn Fein candidate Órfhlaith Begley for 'failing to condemn' McElduff Kingsmill video ahead of west Tyrone by-election

By Mark Edwards

The DUP has slammed Sinn Fein candidate Órfhlaith Begley for 'failing to condemn' Barry McElduff's Kingsmill video ahead of tomorrow's west Tyrone by-election.

Sinn Fein selected 26-year-old Ms Begley to stand after 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.

Last week, DUP candidate Tom Buchanan challenged his Sinn Fein opponent to "speak honestly" about her views on Barry McElduff's video and asked 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, surviving the atrocity.

Mr Buchanan has said today: “Tomorrow west Tyrone will pass judgement at the polls on Sinn Fein disrespect for victims and seventeen years of no representation in the House of Commons.

"I have pledged on the doors to be a voice for everyone in West Tyrone in Parliament. People who were never before DUP voters have spoken to me about their disgust for how innocent victims were mocked and disrespected by Sinn Fein. Many have said they were embarrassed that such comments were associated with west Tyrone.

"Órfhlaith Begley has failed to condemn Barry McElduff’s outrageous video which mocked the Kingsmills victims on the anniversary of the atrocity. 

Sinn Fein’s West Tyrone candidate Orfhlaith Begley (second right) (SF/PA)

Mr Buchanan added: "Indeed, she also opted not to condemn the naming of a playground after Raymond McCreesh who was arrested in possession of a gun used at Kingsmills.  Many will question, what’s the difference between Órfhlaith Begley and Barry McElduff?

"The DUP’s delivery from Westminster for roads, schools, hospitals and broadband has demonstrated that it matters when MPs take their seats.  SF has wasted West Tyrone’s influence in Parliament for the last 17 years.  They claim the expenses but don’t take their seats.  People are tired of such an approach. "

A Sinn Fein spokesperson said:  “Sinn Fein 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.”

The 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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