SF need to put a huge gulf between themselves and the terror of the past

Before the Barry McElduff saga is placed in the history books a number to things should be noted.

The video incident which was the immediate cause of his demise must be seen in the context of his previous behaviour. This includes his support for the East Tyrone IRA who met their fate at Loughgall, and his adulation of Raymond McCresh, when he suggested that should be awarded a peace prize. Given that whose who died at Loughgall, and Raymond McCresh in particular, were suspected of involvement in the Kingsmills Massacre, this puts the video incident into perspective. This helps us to understand why it is difficult to accept that it was unintentional and why it was so hurtful.

The ‘punishment’ of suspension by Sinn Fein means that he is still an active member of that political party. This stands in stark contrast to how the unionist parties dealt with incidents of much lesser significance. The DUP quickly dealt with the Paul Berry incident as did the UUP in relation the Lord Laird – both were expelled.

If we are to make any progress in terms of the ‘reconciliation’ expressed by Barry McElduff, then both he and the party of which he is still a member, will need to create a huge gulf between themselves and the terrorism of the past.


This letter appeared in the Belfast News Letter on Thursday 18th January 2018.

Edited versions appeared in the Belfast Telegraph and the Irish News on Friday 19th January 2018