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Gun man leads SF child vote campaign

SINN FEIN has been strongly criticised after it emerged that a convicted gun criminal is heading up the party's Children's Referendum campaign.

It's been revealed that party bosses have placed Brian Tumilty at the helm of their 'yes' vote campaign -- despite a damning police report linking him to the killing of 10 Protestants in 1976.

The Sinn Fein strategist was convicted on February 4, 1982 for possession of one of the weapons suspected of being used in the Kingsmill massacre.

He was one of six individuals named in the PSNI's Historical Enquiries Team report which described the massacre as "appalling savagery" and an act of "calculated slaughter".

Fine Gael today described the appointment as "highly insensitive" while Fianna Fail accused Sinn Fein of treating the Irish people "like idiots".

The PSNI report examined the deaths of 10 protestants killed by a group of gunmen near the Armagh village of Kingsmill on January 5, 1976.

The victims were stopped by what they believed to be an army patrol. However they were lined up and shot by individuals using 11 weapons.

Another victim, Alan Black, survived despite being shot 18 times and left for dead.

Mr Tumility himself was convicted of being in possession of 'weapon number three' -- a .223 calibre HOW AR-180 Armalite -- which had been used in 18 previous attacks.

The authors of the report emphasised that they could not place Mr Tumility, or any of the five other named individuals, at the scene of the massacre.

However they had been convicted of other crimes in which the weapons in question were involved.

Fine Gael party chairman Charlie Flanagan said of Mr Tumility's appointment: "This shows Sinn Fein in their true colours.

"It's important that this appointment be known by the people. It appears to me as highly insensitive."

FF Justice spokesperson Niall Collins told the Herald: "Sinn Fein are treating the Irish people like idiots. They have yet again showed blank hypocrisy and double standards."