THE daughter of West Tyrone MP Barry McElduff has spoken out to defend her father as he returned to work in his Omagh constituency office yesterday (Wednesday).
Niamh McElduff, who is the current Tyrone Rose of Tralee, took to social media yesterday stating, “It makes no logical, political or personal sense why he would intentionally cause hurt.”
The comments come as the MP begins a three month suspension after posting a video showing him with loaf of Kingsmill bread on his head on the anniversary of the Kingsmills massacre.
There has been widespread criticism over the punishment handed down to the Carrickmore man by
the Sinn Féin leadership on Monday, with some relatives of the ten protestant men who were murdered in the 1976 atrocity, labelling it as an insult.
Sinn Féin confirmed that the MP will continue to receive his salary from the party. But while he is suspended from “all party activity”, it’s understood that he still retains the use of his MP’s constituency office.
Mr McElduff returned to his James Street office yesterday, where it’s understood he will continue his constituency work and operate normal office hours throughout the course of his suspension.
The MP has reiterated that he “had not realised or imagined for a second” a link between the brand of bread and the date the video was posted.
Offering an unreserved apology at the weekend, he offered to meet families of the Kingmills massacre, stating, “It was never my intention to hurt or cause offence to anyone and in particular to victims of the conflict who have suffered so grievously.”
To date none of the relatives appear to have taken up Mr McElduff on his offer.
A petition calling for him to resign had reached 33,000 signatures on Wednesday, but as each day passes and the media spotlight dims, the Carrickmore man appears to have survived the week with his political career intact.
Yesterday the MP’s daughter described “a very tough week” for the Carrickmore family.
“It’s been a very tough week for us and I shouldn’t get involved, but I can’t sit back and watch him suffer for something he didn’t do, said Niamh McElduff.
“My dad is a good person. My whole hearted sympathy is with the families involved. Let’s move forward together,” she added.
Meanwhile in Omagh, McCullagh’s Classic Service Station, where the video was recorded, has continued
to distance itself from the controversy.
In a statement, the popular local business said, “We would like to clarify the video was not sanctioned or authorised by our management to be filmed on our premises. We were not responsible for the content in the video. McCullaghs absolutely do not condone anything which may cause offence to anyone.
“We are a local family run business and we have been blessed with the support and countless friendships from all sections of the community in which we serve over this past 25 years.”