Sinn Féin TD Peadar Tóibín has said it is his understanding that the IRA was responsible for the Kingsmill massacre in which 10 Protestant men were shot dead.
The remarks come after a week of anger and distress for relatives of the victims after Sinn Féin MP Barry McElduff uploaded a video online of him balancing a loaf of Kingsmill bread on his head, on the eve of the anniversary of the massacre.
Speaking to Sean O’Rourke on RTÉ, Mr Tóibín said the shooting dead of the men in Armagh 42 years ago was “shocking, despicable, shameful, morally wrong”.
Their families deserved justice, the Meath West TD stressed, and he believed the IRA were the killers.
However, Mr Tóibín also defended Mr McElduff.
“I know Barry,” he said. “He is a jovial, spontaneous character and there isn’t a sectarian cell in his body whatsoever. But I will say this; he did cause enormous hurt and pain to the Kingsmill families.
“He didn’t have the awareness that he should have had on an issue that was so grave to so many people.”
The MP has been suspended from Sinn Féin for three months.
When asked who was responsible for the killings, Mr Tóibín replied: “I don’t know. I imagine it was the IRA who carried it out. Anybody who knows anything about Kingsmill should give something to the police force in the North.
“Given that it happened when I was two years old, it is impossible to know the exact details of it. But my understanding is the IRA did it. It was a shocking, despicable, shameful, morally wrong act to select individuals on the basis, non-combatants, on the basis of their religion and to kill them as a result.
“The families of Kingsmill deserve justice and they deserve to be able to pursue justice to the perpetrators of that act.”
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