Sinn Féin say Barry McElduff 'will continue to represent his constituents' despite party sanction

Barry McElduff continues to carry out work on behalf of constituents. Picture by Niall Carson/PA Wire

SINN Féin has defended Barry McElduff's continued constituency work despite his suspension from the party over a controversial social media post.

It emerged yesterday that the abtentionist West Tyrone MP is continuing to carry out constituency work from his Omagh office.

Mr McElduff was handed a three-month suspension on Monday for tweeting a video in which he balanced a Kingsmill loaf on his head.

He posted the video on the 42nd anniversary of the Kingsmill massacre in which ten Protestant workmen were killed.

Mr McElduff later apologised for the tweet and insisted he did not intend to cause offence.

Sinn Féin northern leader Michelle O'Neill described the video as "ill-judged" and "indefensible" but the sanction imposed on Mr McElduff was widely criticised for its leniency.

There was criticism last night of the party's decision to allow Mr McElduff to continue his work as an MP even though he is barred from Sinn Féin activities, including voting in next month's leadership election.

A Sinn Féin spokesman told The Irish News: "Sinn Féin made it clear on Monday that Barry McElduff has been suspended as a party member for three months but he has a mandate from the people of West Tyrone and he will continue to represent them.

"He will work from his MP's constituency office."

But TUV leader Jim Allister accused Sinn Féin of "arrogance and disrespect for victims".

"McElduff's continued use of the Sinn Fein/IRA office in West Tyrone underscores the farce of the supposed sanction taken against him," the North Antrim MLA said.

"An abstentionist MP is suspended on full pay from a job he doesn't turn up to do anyway while continuing to be paid by Sinn Féin, still styling himself as a Sinn Féin MP on his twitter account and listed as a Sinn Féin representative on the party website."

Mr Allister called for Sinn Féin's Westminster allowances to be curbed.

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