Northern Ireland news

Barry McElduff confident of Sinn Féin leadership's support for his bid to run in next year's council elections

Barry McElduff tweeted a picture with fellow SF Fermanagh and Omagh District council candidates last night.

FORMER West Tyrone MP Barry McElduff is confident his nomination to stand in next year's local government elections will be endorsed by the Sinn Féin leadership.

Mr McElduff, who resigned in January after tweeting a video of himself with a Kingsmill loaf on his head on the anniversary of the Kingsmill massacre, is among three prospective Sinn Féin candidates selected on Thursday night.

His was nominated alongside Fermanagh and Omagh District Sinn Féin councillors Anne Marie Fitzgerald and Martin McColgan.

The three nominations have yet to be ratified by the party's ard chomhairle but Mr McElduff is confident his candidacy will be endorsed.

He told BBC's Talkback that her had not been approached by the party leadership to run in next May's elections and that the process was "more organic".

The former MP said he had been encouraged to stand for election by Sinn Féin party members and others.

"If I'm being 100 per cent honest here there is a kind of sigh of relief in republicanism and nationalism that someone who has tried their best to act with dignity and integrity in a very difficult situation has done his best," he said.

Mr McElduff maintains he did not mean to cause offence with his infamous Kingsmill tweet and that the incident was "wholly unintentional and coincidental".

He said he was unaware of any association between the brand of bread and the 1976 massacre in which ten Protestant workmen were murdered.

In November, the Public Prosecution Service said it would not prosecute Mr McElduff over the video.

Remarking on his experience over recent months, he said: "I have learnt a lot about life – about resilience, empathy and respect for other people."

He said the decision to resign was his own and that he took responsibility for his actions.

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