Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein's Michelle O'Neill to miss BBC NI Leaders' Debate due to illness

Sinn Fein's leader in Northern Ireland Michelle O'Neill said she is disappointed that she will miss BBC NI's election debate due to illness.

It is thought Ms O'Neill has lost her voice. John O'Dowd is due to take her place.

Ms O'Neill said in a Facebook post: "Disappointed can't make BBC election debate tonight because im not well...but big thanks to @JohnODowdSF for taking my place at short notice."

The DUP was the only party not represented by its leader at the UTV debate broadcast on Monday because Arlene Foster is in France to mark the centenary of the Battle of Messines.

She was due to be represented by Nigel Dodds again tonight but was replaced by Jeffrey Donaldson. Mr Dodds was unable to attend due to his mother being ill.

Filming was stopped during Monday's UTV debate when Naomi Long said she 'felt faint'  and had to sit down during the hour-long programme.

Mrs Long said that she had no "health issues" and was looking forward to taking part in Tuesday's BBC debate.

The NI Leaders' Debate will be shown on BBC One NI at 9pm.

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