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Sinn Fein calls for parties to condemn torrent of abuse aimed at O’Neill

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Michelle O’Neill (Liam McBurney/PA)

Michelle O’Neill (Liam McBurney/PA)

Michelle O’Neill (Liam McBurney/PA)

Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill has received a barrage of sectarian and misogynistic online abuse, Sinn Fein has said.

Sinn Fein MLA Lindon Dillon called on political parties to condemn the abuse and said details of threats made to Mrs O'Neill have been passed on to the PSNI for investigation.

The Mid Ulster MLA said: “My friend and colleague Michelle O’Neill has been the victim of vile online abuse, harassment and threats over the course of recent days.

“The bulk of this abuse has consisted of repugnant sectarian and misogynistic comments."

Mrs O'Neill has received criticism for her attendance at the funeral of veteran republican Bobby Storey last month.

Her attendance has caused a political row, with political opponents calling for her to stand down while police investigate if the funeral breached coronavirus restrictions, which Mrs O'Neil helped draw up.

Mrs O'Neill has denied her actions breached any regulations.

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Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill attended the funeral at Milltown Cemetery in west Belfast (Liam McBurney/PA)

Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill attended the funeral at Milltown Cemetery in west Belfast (Liam McBurney/PA)

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Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill attended the funeral at Milltown Cemetery in west Belfast (Liam McBurney/PA)

Ms Dillon said: “No person in any walk of life, public or otherwise, should be expected to put up with this.

“There is space to disagree politically in a mature and respectful manner but resorting to threats and abuse is unacceptable."

Ms Dillon said Mrs O'Neill was "undeterred" by the abuse.

She added: “I would call on those from across all political parties and indeed all aspects of public life to stand together and to condemn those responsible for online threats and abuse targeting Michelle O’Neill.

“This is 2020, there must be a clear and coherent rejection of those responsible for spreading hate.”

The PSNI has brought in an outside police force to investigate the funeral of Bobby Storey and Belfast councillors have voted for an independent investigation into the cremation service at Roselawn.

The service was the only one of nine that day where 30 people were allowed to attend.

A death threat has also been made against senior Belfast City Council official Nigel Grimshaw after an internal council report found that he had made the decision to allow 30 mourners to attend Mr Storey's cremation.

Belfast Telegraph