Máirtín Ó Muilleoir says he believes Kingsmill tweet was 'wholly innocent'
FORMER Stormont finance minister Máirtín Ó Muilleoir has broken his silence about retweeting a controversial video posted on Twitter by his former party colleague Barry McElduff.
The South Belfast MLA was speaking for the first time yesterday about the controversial video in which the former West Tyrone MP placed a Kingsmill loaf on his head.
Mr Ó Muilleoir drew criticism from unionists and there were calls for his resignation after he retweeted his Sinn Féin colleague's post, which coincided with the 42nd anniversary of the Kingsmill massacre in which ten Protestant workmen were killed.
Mr Ó Muilleoir escaped sanction, though Sinn Féin northern leader Michelle O'Neill said she had told the former finance minister to be more responsible in his use of social media.
When questioned about the episode by the BBC, the South Belfast MLA said: "It was a wholly innocent tweet in my view.
"I thought it was wholly apolitical – I would not have tweeted in any other basis and I apologised at the time."
Asked if he had made a mistake he said: "Absolutely and even Homer nods" – meaning anybody can make a mistake."
Mr Ó Muilleoir said he believed the matter was now closed.
But DUP MLA William Irwin said the Sinn Féin MLAs's response was no different to that provided Barry McElduff.
He said Mr Ó Muilleoir should also resign.
"After a few weeks of hiding from media, Mairtin Ó Muilleoir appears to think that people will have forgotten about the offence caused by he and Barry McElduff’s actions," the Newry and Armagh representative said.
"It is notable that his justification for sharing the video is no different than that of Barry McElduff for posting the stunt in the first place."