Suspended McElduff splits opinion among politicians

Sinn Fein MP Barry McElduff leaves party HQ on the Falls Road on Monday after meeting the party leadership.  Mr McElduff has been suspended from the party for three months after his Kingsmill Tweet at the weekend. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council Chairman and a local MLA are among those who have voiced their support for West Tyrone MP Barry McElduff. 
Fermanagh and Omagh District Chairman Stephen McCann took to Twitter to send his support to McElduff who has been widely criticised for posting a video on social media with a Kingsmill loaf on his head on the anniversary of the 1976 Kingsmill massacre.
Chairman Stephen McCann tweeted: “Have known Barry McElduff for many years. He works extremely hard for all in our community. Always the first man to stand with those in hardship and would never intentionally offend anyone.”
Fermanagh South Tyrone MLA Colm Gildernew also posted on Twitter to show his support to McElduff as he tweeted his party colleague saying, “I have known Barry McElduff for many years and consider him a true and valued friend. It is my belief that Barry would never intentionally insult or hurt any victim of this or any other conflict. It is my view that his swift and fulsome apology is both appropriate and sincere.”
On Monday, following a Sinn Fein party meeting McElduff was suspended from all party activity for a period of three months. 
DUP leader Arlene Foster was highly critical of McElduff’s actions, and spoke to UTV following his suspension saying, “Here we have an organisation which accepts the guilt of the individual but then does absolutely nothing about it because of course Barry McElduff doesn’t go to Westminster so it is going to have no impact in relation to his representative role. What he should’ve done was resign.”
Ulster Unionist MLA Rosemary Barton also tweeted following McElduff’s suspension saying: “The lack of a near reasonable punishment of Barry McElduff by Sinn Fein further demonstrates the attitude of Sinn Fein of having no respect or tolerance towards innocent victims. Of course nothing new in this.”
SDLP Councillor John Coyle told the Herald: “I knew that Barry McElduff would still be in a job after this. Sinn Fein are talking out of both sides of their mouth, because they were vying for the Tanaiste’s blood before Christmas and had to get her out of her job. Their double standards and the hypocrites that they are kept Barry McElduff in his job. If something happens within their party, they do not have the backbone to dismiss members. He has caused hurt to those victims.”

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