Belfast Telegraph

Editor's Viewpoint: Insult to Kingsmill victims needs action

Editor's Viewpoint

There is widespread dismay following the decision by the PPS not to prosecute former Sinn Fein MLA Barry McElduff over his controversial Kingsmill video.

This arises from an incident when McElduff posted a video on social media in which he posed with a loaf of Kingsmill bread on his head during the 42nd anniversary of the massacre in which Protestant workmen were murdered in cold blood.

The PPS also announced that it had decided against prosecuting Sinn Fein MLA Mairtin O Muilleoir, who also shared the video on Twitter.

The PPS assistant director Martin Hardy acknowledged the great hurt which the video had caused to the relatives of the dead man and to the wider community.

He said that the evidence produced by the police had not been sufficient to provide a reasonable aspect of obtaining a conviction.

He also revealed that having considered all the evidence available, the requisite test for prosecution was not met.

The deep hurt of relatives was summarised by the brother of one of the murdered men who claimed that Barry McElduff had "got away with dancing on the graves" of the Kingsmill victims.

As we noted in a leading article on Monday concerning the disgraceful incident when people dressed up in Ku Klux Klan regalia in Newtownards last weekend, it is up to the police and prosecutors to investigate whether or not a hate crime has been committed.

We are not in the business of second-guessing the PPS or the police on these decisions, and when the authorities rule that the test for prosecution was not met, we have to accept that.

Sadly, however, this leaves all of us in a legal no-man's land when the prosecution can accept that a group of people suffered a great deal because of the actions of an individual or individuals, but there appears to be no remedy in law for such behaviour.

McElduff said that out of 26 types of loaf in the shop, he picked the Kingsmill brand at random, and it just happened to be on the anniversary of the atrocity. To any reasonable and fair-minded observer, the sight of a front-line politician balancing a Kingsmill loaf on his head was outrageous, and deeply offensive.

Clearly there is a serious legislative gap in dealing with such situations, and there is a strong case for our politicians to fill this gap if and when they condescend to return to Stormont.

Belfast Telegraph

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