Belfast Telegraph

Not time to discuss past: Sinn Fein MP on planned Derry dissident parade in wake of murder

MP asked if parade should be called off

Elisha McCallion refused to say whether the parade should go ahead
Elisha McCallion refused to say whether the parade should go ahead

A Sinn Fein MP has said it is not the time to discuss the past when asked whether a planned dissident republican parade should go ahead in Londonderry following the murder of a journalist in the city.

During a night of rioting in the Creggan area on Thursday night, 29-year-old journalist Lyra McKee was shot dead as she stood beside a police Land Rover. Police believe dissident republicans were responsible.

An Easter Monday commemoration parade had been planned in Londonderry by dissident republican group Saoradh, which was widely condemned in the wake of the murder. Organisers have since called off the parade in the wake of the murder.

Speaking on BBC Radio Ulster, Sinn Fein's Foyle MP Elisha McCallion was asked whether she thought the parade should go ahead, but refused to answer the question.

"I think it's difficult to bring this into context when you're talking about remembering the dead and I think that people of all aspects and traditions should be able to honour and dignify in a respectful way their dead," she said.

"But be very clear on this, the people that carried out this attack last night have absolutely no right to be on the streets of Derry, or indeed anywhere else on the streets of Ireland."

When pressed on the issue, Ms McCallion said she didn't think it was time to be getting into the "whataboutery of the past".

"I think we need to be very clear on the here and now. I think we need to be clear in what we're saying: these people do not act in our name," she added.

"People in Derry will, I have no doubt, over the next few days continue to say that this is not in their name. I don't think it's time to discuss that many different narratives of the past.

"We don't have an agreed past and we probably won't for a long time. Now is not the time for cheap political point scoring from anyone."

Easter Monday's parade has since been cancelled by Saoradh "as a mark of respect" to the killing of Lyra.

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