McDonald calls McElduff tweet ‘crass, obnoxious and stupid’

Sinn Féin MP suspended for three months for Kingsmill tweet

Sinn Féin announced on Monday that Mr McElduff had been suspended for three months for posting a video on Twitter featuring him with a loaf of Kingsmill bread on his head.

Sinn Féin announced on Monday that Mr McElduff had been suspended for three months for posting a video on Twitter featuring him with a loaf of Kingsmill bread on his head.

 

“Crass, stupid and obnoxious” were the words used by the deputy leader of Sinn Féin Mary Lou McDonald to describe the video tweeted by MP Barry McElduff on the anniversary of the Kingsmill massacre.

Sinn Féin announced on Monday that Mr McElduff had been suspended for three months for posting a video on Twitter featuring him with a loaf of Kingsmill bread on his head.

The video, which was posted on Friday, the 42nd anniversary of the Kingsmill massacre in which the IRA killed 10 Protestant textile workers, prompted widespread criticism and claims that Mr McElduff was intentionally mocking the dead and bereaved.

In her first public response to the controversy, Ms McDonald did not defend the tweet but said Mr McElduff was contrite and apologetic when she spoke to RTÉ’s News at One on Tuesday.

Ms McDonald, who is expected to replace Gerry Adams as Sinn Féin leader in the coming weeks, accepted the tweet had caused distress and hurt to the families of the victims.

“He [MR MCELDUFF]takes full responsibility and accepts that it caused grave offence to the grieving families. It was most regretful,” she said.

Ms McDonald said Mr McElduff disputed claims that he had been aware of what he was doing. She said anyone who followed him on social media would be aware his output was often what she described as “quirky”.

It was not malicious and he did not set out to hurt anyone, she claimed.

“It was most regrettable behaviour and it was not acceptable to cause that kind of hurt.”

Meanwhile, DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson said it was “is stretching it too far” to say Mr McElduff did not know it was the anniversary of the Kingsmill massacre.

Mr Donaldson said there had been plenty of publicity about the anniversary because of the ongoing investigation and it was difficult to believe that a political representative would not be aware of the significance.

It was an insult to the victims and their families that Mr McElduff had been suspended for three months on full pay, he told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

It was a totally inadequate response from Sinn Féin, he added.

“Sinn Féin and the IRA still deny they were responsible for this atrocity. Sinn Féin should own up, there should be a mature acknowledgment,” he said.

“Not only are they living in denial, but it’s the way they’ve handled it. Their inability to recognise the pain they’ve caused victims.”

Mr McElduff was called to a meeting in Belfast on Monday afternoon with the Sinn Féin leadership, including its Northern leader Michelle O’Neill.