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Irish MP is Toasted and Forced to Quit After Twitter Loaf Stunt Causes Offense

© AP Photo / Peter Morrison / A man walks past a mural from the loyalist terror group the Ulster Volunteer Force in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Thursday, May, 3, 2007.
A man walks past a mural from the loyalist terror group the Ulster Volunteer Force in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Thursday, May, 3, 2007. - Sputnik International
The Irish MP Barry McElduff - who posted a video of himself in a shop with a loaf of bread on his head on the anniversary of the Kingsmills murders, in which 10 Protestant workers were shot dead by the IRA - resigned on Monday, January 15, as a result of the controversy.

The Sinn Fein MP for West Tyrone faced a barrage if criticism after he put the video on the social media site Twitter on the 42nd anniversary of the massacre despite Mr.McElduff insisting he did not make a connection in his mind between the two. He later accepted many people did not believe him, including the sole survivor of the attack, who said he would not accept his apology, adding: "I'll never forgive him."

Announcing his decision to quit, Mr.McElduff admitted it was with great sadness, having served more than 30 years as an active Sinn Fein member and public representative he was now standing down.

Sorry for the Hurt

In his statement, he said:"The reason I am doing so is because of the consequences of the Twitter video which has caused such controversy over the last week. But the deep and unnecessary hurt this video caused the families of the victims of Kingsmill is my greatest regret."

Offering a profound apology to the families and wider victims of the community, the former MP added: "Had I been conscious of the connection to the terrible atrocity at Kingsmill I would certainly not have posted that tweet. I genuinely did not make that connection, not for a second did I make that connection in my mind. 

Mr.McElduff insisted Kingsmill was wrong, unjustifiable and sectarian. It should never have happened.

"There was no intended reference to Kingsmill in my tweet. But I do accept that there are many people who do not believe this to be the case," the statement continued, adding: "I accept also that this view of what happened is deeply damaging to the reconciliation process that is so important to consolidating the peace process and to healing the pain and hurt of the past.

​Have deleted video post. Had not realised or imagined for a second any possible link between product brand name and Kingsmill Anniversary.

"I cannot undo the pain caused but I know that my continuing role as MP for West Tyrone will compound that sense of hurt and impede any reconciliation process. I have a deep gratitude for my native county and its people," he said. "I am an Irish republican and believe whole heartedly in the reunification of our country and an agreed Ireland in which we heal the wounds of the past together.

Reconciliation is Essential

His statement concluded: "Reconciliation is essential, but that message is not being heard at this time. I do not wish to be a barrier to reconciliation and healing and in that spirit I again offer my sincere apologies to the survivors and families of those murdered at Kingsmill."

Michelle O'Neill, the Sinn Fein leader in Northern Ireland, described him as a "formidable champion" at local government, assembly and Westminster level. She said: "Barry recognizes that this controversy and his continuing role in public office is compounding the distress to the victims of Kingsmill, and again offers his profound apology to those families and to the wider victims community."

The only person to survive the 1976 attack, Alan Black welcomed the resignation, adding: "I'm not on a crusade. I've done what I've done up to now to protect the memory of the boys and to try to protect their families. But he did the right thing stepping down — eventually. I won't be speaking publicly about Kingsmill again unless there is some development at the inquest."

The incident was one of the deadliest mass shootings of the Troubles and took place near the village of Kingsmill in south County Armagh in Northern Ireland.

Gunmen stopped a minibus carrying 11 Protestant workmen, lined them up alongside it and shot them.Only one victim survived despite having been shot a total of 18 times while a Catholic man on the minibus was allowed to go free. 

A group calling itself South Armagh Republican Action Force later claimed responsibility, insisting the shooting was retaliation for a string of attacks on Catholic civilians in the area by Loyalists.The massacre was the climax of a string of tit-for-tat killings in the area during the mid-1970s.

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