Lyra McKee’s sister ‘devastated’ over reaction to her Stormont return plea
The sister of murdered journalist Lyra McKee has said she is devastated at criticism of a Government video she featured in, calling for the Northern Ireland Assembly to be restored.
In a video tweeted by the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) Nichola Corner urged politicians to agree to reform devolved government.
The institutions have been collapsed for more than 1,000 days following a breakdown in relations between leading parties, the DUP and Sinn Fein.
Ms Corner has spoken out previously calling for devolution to be restored, and in her video for the NIO, said she wants to see MLAs back to work to bring about change and a peaceful society for the young people of Northern Ireland.
Alliance leader Naomi Long criticised the NIO for the timing of the video, just days before new legislation liberalising the region’s abortion laws and allowing same-sex marriage are due to take effect.
The laws will change unless devolution is restored by October 21.
Baroness O’Loan and the DUP issued a call for the return of Stormont earlier this week out of concern around the change in the abortion law.
Ms McKee had been openly gay and an advocate for the LGBT+ community before she was killed by dissident republicans in Londonderry in April while she observed a riot.
Ms Corner has spoken publicly in support of same-sex marriage in the past.
She said she stands by every word in the NIO video, but has urged them now to remove it, saying her “positive message has been distorted”.
Mrs Long blasted the NIO for the timing of the release of the video, describing it as an “appalling manipulation of a family’s grief”.
“The @NIOgov know ‘now’ means denying both LGBTQ+ people and women their rights,” she tweeted.
“We’re ready to restore an Assembly & Executive capable of delivering equality and human rights for all of our people.
“In very poor taste.”
Ms Corner said if she could have foreseen the reaction, she would not have taken part in the video.
“I am totally devastated by the response to my very simple message on Twitter,” she posted on her Facebook page.
“My intention was always good and in the interests of all the people of Northern Ireland.
“I thought I was building on messages delivered previously, including the speech I gave on Sunday at the 1,000 days rally at Stormont.
“Given that my positive message seems to have been so grievously distorted, I have asked the NIO to take down my videoed message from Twitter.
“I continue to stand by every single word spoken, but perhaps my political naivety contributed to me not realising that the public outcry was a potential outcome of taking part in the Twitter series.
“I have no political affiliations with any group or party and do not wish my honest message to be tarnished by association with party politics.
“Had I foreseen any of these events, I would not have taken part.”
On Sunday Ms Corner also spoke out about the continued collapse of the Assembly at a protest at Stormont estate.
It marked the landmark of 1,000 days since the devolved institutions collapsed.
Ms Corner said then: “If our Lyra’s death wasn’t enough to get them back to work, I don’t know what will.
“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.”