Political news

Timeline to Barry McElduff resignation

Barry McElduff posted the video on social media on the anniversary of the Kingsmill massacre


January 5: Barry McElduff posts a video on social media with a Kingsmill loaf on his head at 12.05am on the 42nd anniversary of the massacre of 10 Protestant workers in south Armagh. Among those to retweet it is Sinn Féin's Máirtín Ó Muilleoir. The West Tyrone MP is later contacted to say his video is in poor taste.

January 6: Mr McElduff deletes his video and writes that he "had not realised or imagined for a second any possible link between product brand name and Kingsmill anniversary". He apologises for "any hurt or offence caused". He later states on Twitter that he is "mindful of unintended hurt caused to victims' families" and offers to meet with Kingsmill relatives. Mr Ó Muilleoir also deletes his retweet of the video and apologises. Sinn Féin MLA Colm Gildernew posts support for Mr McElduff, saying "it is my belief that Barry would never intentionally insult or hurt any victim of this or any other conflict".

January 7: No comment from Sinn Féin leadership despite repeated requests.

January 8: Sinn Féin chairman Declan Kearney says Mr McElduff has "fallen well short of the standards" the party expects. Mr McElduff later meets with the Sinn Féin leadership in Belfast to explain his actions. He announces he has been suspended "from all party activity for a period of three months" and again apologises. Northern leader Michelle O'Neill says during the meeting she "made it clear to Barry that his tweet was ill-judged, indefensible and caused hurt and pain to the victims of Kingsmill". Unionists and victims criticise the sanction amid widespread media coverage.

January 12: The Irish News reveals that Mr McElduff is continuing to carry out constituency work from his Omagh office, despite his suspension.

January 14: Alan Black, the only survivor of the Kinsgmill atrocity, accuses Mr McElduff of "depravity and dancing on graves" during an interview on RTÉ Radio.

January 15: Mr McElduff resigns at Sinn Féin MP, saying that staying in the job would have impeded efforts to forge reconciliation. Ms O'Neill says Mr McElduff told her of his intention to resign the previous evening, having recognised that his continuing role in public office was "compounding the distress that's been caused to families and the victims of Kingsmill".

Read more: John Manley: Continuing Kingsmill controversy left Sinn Féin with no choice but to jettison McElduff

Allison Morris: The last week has been a shameful time in politics

Sinn Féin may decide to opt for surprise candidate in West Tyrone by-election

West Tyrone by-election: Other parties consider forming by-election pact

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