Coveney meets NI political representatives after Lyra McKee’s death

The Tánaiste has met with political representatives in Belfast following the death of a journalist.

Simon Coveney travelled to Northern Ireland to discuss the current impasse in Stormont in light of the death of activist and journalist Lyra McKee.

Ms McKee, 29, was fatally shot during unrest in Derry on Thursday night by a dissident republican-linked group which claimed responsibility in a Belfast newspaper on Tuesday.

Lyra McKee (Family handout/PA)
Lyra McKee (Family handout/PA)

Sinn Féin leader in the north of Ireland Michelle O’Neill was seen entering an Irish government residence in Belfast for the meeting late on Tuesday afternoon.

A spokesman for the Alliance Party told the Press Association: “Simon Coveney and Naomi Long have had a phone call this morning and will be speaking again later today.

“We are aware the Tánaiste is travelling to Belfast for a series of private meetings.”

The death of Ms McKee has caused widespread outrage amongst political and community leaders and sparked SDLP leader Colum Eastwood to call for talks between the Northern Ireland parties to restore the government in Stormont.

“There is an unmistakable public desire that the tragic and terrible loss of Lyra McKee marks a turning point for our peace and political process,” Mr Eastwood’s letter said.

“I am therefore writing to all party leaders and to the two governments to urge that talks are convened this week in order to finally restore government in Northern Ireland.”

The New IRA has claimed responsibility for the killing of Ms McKee.

In a statement given to the Irish News using a recognised code word, the New IRA has offered its "full and sincere apologies" to Lyra's partner, family and friends.

The dissident republican group says she was tragically killed in the course of attacking the enemy.

Earlier today, a 57-year-old woman was arrested in connection with the murder.

She is being questioned under the UK Terrorism Act by police in the North.

- Press Association

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