The investigation into the murder of Michaela McAreavey has been defined by sustained indifference, Stormont’s deputy First Minister has said.
Michelle O’Neill said she shared the view of the teacher’s loved ones that not enough has been done to catch those responsible for her death while on honeymoon on the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius in 2011.
Mrs O’Neill and First Minister Arlene Foster have now written a joint letter to Mauritian prime minister Pravind Jugnauth outlining the family concerns and urging him to take action.
We have written to PM of Mauritius expressing concern on Michaela McAreavey investigation— Michelle OâNeill (@moneillsf) September 4, 2020
The Mauritian Government must do much more to deliver justice
The McAreavey and Harte families have been denied justice for almost 10 years
I will do all I can to get justice for Michaela pic.twitter.com/6u7ZgeSsSs
Mrs Foster said the 27-year-old’s murder had brought “absolute devastation” to her widower John and her family.
Mrs McAreavey, who was the only daughter of Tyrone Gaelic football boss Mickey Harte, was murdered when she returned to her hotel room alone and disturbed a burglary.
Two former hotel workers were acquitted after a high-profile trial on the holiday island in summer 2012.
John McAreavey has pursued a long campaign for justice and has accused the Mauritian authorities of being more interested in preserving the island’s reputation as a holiday destination than catching the killers.
Ms O’Neill said: “As the tenth anniversary of Micheala McAreavey’s death approaches, myself and Arlene Foster as joint heads of government have written to the Prime Minister of Mauritius to request that the government there do all that they can to bring those responsible to justice.
“Micheala and John were spending time in Mauritius on their honeymoon.
“She was a popular young woman, a much loved daughter, a sister, and a wife.
“Her loss was acutely felt right across the island of Ireland and even beyond.
“From her untimely death, the McAreavey and Harte families have had serious concerns about the investigation. In the memory of Michaela, her family have fought a long battle for truth and for justice.
“It is the family’s contention that the Mauritian investigation is being defined by sustained indifference as they have no tangible evidence that the Malaysian authorities are serious about pursuing those responsible.
“I too share that view. The investigation did not and has not given confidence to the family that everything that could be done was being done.
“As a result, no-one has ever been brought to justice.
“We will continue to do all that we can to support both the Harte and the McAreavey families in their quest for justice for Michaela.”
Mrs Foster said: “This was a tragedy and we want to see justice done. I remember well travelling to the Harte home with (DUP colleagues) Peter Robinson and Maurice Morrow to sympathise with the Harte family.
“My colleague Nelson McCausland was also there and prayed with the family that day for comfort and justice. That is still our prayer.
“None of us with children could fail to be moved with the absolute devastation caused by the murder against a background of a wonderful wedding.
“If our letter can in any way help move the investigation along, then it was the least we could do.”