Sinn Fein’s Barry McElduff has resigned as MP for West Tyrone.
The 51-year-old from Aghagogan made headlines earlier this month when he posted a video posing with a Kingsmill loaf on his head on the anniversary of the 1976 Kingsmills massacre.
Announcing his resignation Mr McElduff said: “It is with great sadness that, after more than 30 years as an active Sinn Fein member and public representative I am tendering my resignation as MP for West Tyrone.
“The reason I am doing so is because of the consequences of the Twitter video which has caused such controversy over the last week.
“But the deep and unnecessary hurt this video caused the families of the victims of Kingsmill is my greatest regret.
“I again offer my profound apology to those families and to the wider victims community.
“Had I been conscious of the connection to the terrible atrocity at Kingsmill I would certainly not have posted that tweet. I genuinely did not make that connection, not for a second did I make that connection in my mind.”
“Kingsmill was wrong, unjustifiable and sectarian. It should never have happened.
“There was no intended reference to Kingsmill in my tweet. But I do accept that there are many people who do not believe this to be the case. I accept also that this view of what happened is deeply damaging to the reconciliation process that is so important to consolidating the peace process and to healing the pain and hurt of the past.
“I cannot undo the pain caused but I know that my continuing role as MP for West Tyrone will compound that sense of hurt and impede any reconciliation process.
“I wish to wholeheartedly thank my family and friends for their steadfast personal support during this difficult time, and the people of West Tyrone whom I have had the privilege to serve as their public representative for over 20 years. I have a deep gratitude for my native county and its people.
“I am an Irish republican and believe whole heartedly in the reunification of our country and an agreed Ireland in which we heal the wounds of the past together.
“Reconciliation is essential, but that message is not being heard at this time.
“I do not wish to be a barrier to reconciliation and healing and in that spirit I again offer my sincere apologies to the survivors and families of those murdered at Kingsmill.”
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