Castlederg based Ulster Unionist Councillor, Alderman Derek Hussey, has said that in its weak response to the video posted on social media by Sinn Fein’s Barry McElduff, the party has heaped insult upon the injury caused to victims.
Councillor Hussey said:
“Like the vast majority of those who witnessed Barry McElduff's vile, bigoted, sectarian and clearly premeditated video relating to the despicable Kingsmill Massacre 42 years ago, I was appalled that anyone, much less a person elected to represent the citizens of West Tyrone at Westminster, could act in such a manner.
"Declan Kearney, Sinn Fein's National Chairman, told us that he could only 'strongly disapprove of what has happened', that it was 'irresponsible' and indeed 'inexcusable and indefensible.'
"In the light of Mr Kearney's comments I, like many others, awaited the judgement of Sinn Fein's leadership, having summoned Mr McElduff to appear before them. The three-month suspension that was subsequently announced, merely compounded the hurt already caused by the McElduff video and was simply a case of Sinn Fein covering their own backs by attempting to 'push the issue down the road' and allowing the dust to settle.
“Such a minimal sanction was rightly greeted with dismay from many throughout all sections of the community and when one examines the judgement in detail it becomes even more contemptuous. Michelle O'Neill, Sinn Fein's so called 'northern leader', tells us that Mr McElduff is 'suspended as a party member' still receiving his full pay from Sinn Fein like all other elected representatives and that 'he also has a mandate from the people of West Tyrone and will continue to represent them in that way.'
"With one of their senior elected representatives having patently behaved in such an outrageous manner and caused such widespread offence, it would surely have fitted Sinn Fein to have offered more than a tokenistic response? Sinn Fein’s reaction clearly calls into question the credibility of the integrity, equality or respect agenda they were so keen to preach and endorses the growing perception that many have of the sectarian nature of that party.
"In the midst of the furore surrounding this issue I am mindful of the trauma that has been revisited on the families of the Kingsmill victims and indeed on the wider victims and survivors' community. It is utterly shameful that Mr McElduff has acted in such a manner but the official Sinn Fein response has heaped insult upon injury.”