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Sinn Fein issue response to Barry McElduff’s tweet on Kingsmills anniversary

Mr McElduff will meet with the Sinn Fein leadership later on Monday

Sinn Fein have branded a tweet by one of its MPs on the anniversary of the Kingsmills Massacre in south Armagh as “absolutely irresponsible”.

Sinn Fein’s national chairman Declan Kearney said there was “no defence or excuse for what had happened”.

Mr Kearney was speaking to the BBC’s Good Morning Ulster programme following the video tweet from Barry McElduff, which show the West Tyrone MP place a Kingsmill loaf on top of his head.

The tweet coincided with the anniversary of Kingsmills where 10 protestant men were gunned down on their way home from work.

Read more: Victim’s sister ‘willing’ to meet Barry McElduff over Kingsmill loaf tweet

“I would like to express my own and Sinn Fein’s very sincere regret for the very understandable offence caused as result of this tweet,” said Mr Kearney.

“What happened is absolutely irresponsible. Barry McElduff has already made an unreserved apology and that was the correct thing to do in these circumstances.

“But the reality is huge offence has been caused and I and Sinn Fein strongly disapprove of what has happened.”

He added that the Sinn Fein leadership would consider his position “very seriously indeed”.

Mr McElduff is due to meet with party leader Michelle O’Neill later today to discuss his actions on Friday.

Mr Kearney continued: “That will be an opportunity for the party leadership in the north to record its very serious disapproval of what has happened and discuss the very serious fall out.

“Sinn Fein expects the highest standards of not only our members but our senior elected representatives. What has happened falls well short of those standards.

“It was inexcusable and indefensible and I’ve made it very clear that we are taking this matter very seriously.

“We have put in place an internal party process. I don’t intent to publicly comment on that. I accept and Sinn Fein accepts that it has caused maximum hurt.

“It would be inappropriate for me to publicly comment on the nature of the process. There is a meeting scheduled for this afternoon.”

Read more: MP offers ‘unreserved apology’ over video tweet on Kingsmills Massacre anniversary

He added: “Offence and hurt has been caused and that should not have happened. The speed in which the post was removed indicated he recognised his own significant error of judgement.”

The PSNI is examining the video after receiving a number of complaints, while the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards at Westminster has also been alerted.

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