Belfast Telegraph

Sister of murdered journalist condemns Stormont stalemate

Lyra McKee was shot in April in the Creggan area of Londonderry.

Nichola Corner (TedxStormont/PA)
Nichola Corner (TedxStormont/PA)

By Aoife Moore, PA

The sister of a journalist killed by dissident republicans has condemned politicians in Northern Ireland.

Nichola Corner, the sister of Lyra McKee, who was shot in April in the Creggan area of Londonderry during disturbances with the police, says the current Stormont stalemate is an insult to her sister’s memory.

Detectives believe New IRA dissident republicans were responsible for shooting the 29-year-old writer while she observed a riot.

Speaking at a protest at Stormont estate to mark the landmark of 1,000 days since the devolved institutions collapsed, Ms Corner said her family believed after her sister’s much-publicised death and funeral, that the politicians in Northern Ireland would make a concerted effort to restore devolution.

“It seems to us, Lyra’s family, that Lyra’s death wasn’t enough for them, what is it going to take?,” she said.

“Are they waiting on another Omagh? Another Shankill? Another murder?

“If our Lyra’s death wasn’t enough to get them back to work, I don’t know what will.

“Maybe a reduction in salary wouldn’t go amiss.

“Our elected politicians continue to let their differences be barriers to progress, peace and change and transformed the word concession into a dirty word and use it to refuse to honour the will of the people and work together and blame each other for their own failure.”

Many held banners and signs, and wore T-shirts adorned with Ms McKee’s image and the slogan #wedeservebetter.

Stormont has been in cold storage for more than two and a half years due to a stand-off between Sinn Fein and the DUP on issues such as Irish language legislation and a ban on same-sex marriage.

Northern Ireland’s elected MLAs continue to be paid their salaries, as well as expenses, a fact that protesters say is hypocritical while funding for public services is held up by the lack of an executive.

Many made speeches about how the lack of functioning government affected their lives, from schools to healthcare.

Many booed and jeered at the mention of the main political parties, and the names of leaders Michelle O’Neill and Arlene Foster.

Hopes for a new set of talks were sparked following the funeral of Ms McKee in April, although talks are ongoing, nothing substantial is expected any time soon.

Speaking to PA Media at the protest, Stephen Farry, Alliance Party deputy leader said that he wanted the Assembly back to focus on rights issues.

“The Assembly has to be here, not for the sake of it, but to deliver for the people of Northern Ireland,” he said.

“We’re here because we’re frustrated over the lack of assembly and the damage that has been done to our public services and our economy.

“We need to get back to doing the full job of what we were elected to do.”

Changes to Northern Ireland’s abortion and gay marriage laws are set to be implemented after October 21, when Westminster has ruled that Northern Ireland’s abortion laws are to be relaxed, if the Executive is not restored by that date.



From Belfast Telegraph