Irish deputy leader meets NI political representatives after journalist’s death

By Aoife Moore, Press Association

The Irish deputy leader has met with political representatives in Belfast following the death of a journalist.

Tanaiste and Minister of Foreign Affairs 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 Londonderry on Thursday night by a dissident republican-linked group which claimed responsibility in a Belfast newspaper on Tuesday.

Lyra McKee (Family handout/PA)

Sinn Fein 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 Tanaiste 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.”