O'Neill: Lyra's killers have 'no popular support from the people'

Sinn Féin’s deputy leader Michelle O’Neill says that the people who killed journalist Lyra McKee in Derry last Thursday night are “no politicians, they have no strategy, no popular support from the people.”

She told Newstalk Breakfast that they are a “small number of self-appointed people caught in a time warp.

“They need to desist and leave the stage.”

Ms O’Neill said that the outpouring of love and grief in the wake of Ms McKee’s death had been phenomenal and she hoped that was of some comfort to her partner and family.

“She was an amazing young woman. I am heartsore for her family.”

Ms O’Neill added that she shared Ms McKee’s sense of hope and positivity.

She defended Sinn Féin’s record of cooperation with the other parties in the North despite the fact that Stormont has not sat for over two years.

“The first thing I did when I heard about Lyra’s death was to contact the other party leaders to issue a joint statement. There are times when we can work together.”

She said she was “so wedded” to the peace process and that if any good was to come from the tragic death of Ms McKee, it was the need to protect the Good Friday Agreement.

“The current stalemate cannot continue. The only show in town is the Good Friday Agreement.”

Ms O’Neill called on the Irish and British governments, as co-guarantors of the Agreement, to hold an intergovernmental conference. “If the two governments came together to remove obstacles that would open the way forward.”

She said that to date both governments had been “disengaged” because of Brexit.

“We need to work together to build a better future. We need the parties to work together to do that.

“We have to give people hope and positivity. Sinn Féin will not be found wanting.”

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