Stormont power vacuum back in the spotlight
British Prime Minister Theresa May, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Irish President Michael D Higgins, DUP Leader Arlene Foster and politicians from across the political divide attended the funeral of murdered journalist Lyra McKee in Belfast on Wednesday. Fr. Martin Magill, a Catholic priest asked during his sermon in the Protestant Belfast Cathedral “Why in God’s name does it take the death of a 29 year old woman with her whole life in front of her to get us to this point?” This statement received a standing ovation – including by those holding up the Stormont talks.
Arlene Foster spoke after the funeral, saying : “Fr Martin Magill spoke very powerfully and plainly about what people want and said it is clear they want to see devolution back and power sharing back in Stormont very, very soon.” Sinn Fein President Mary Lou McDonald responded to Fr. Magill’s comments by stating “In a clear, concise way he has said what I have heard all over Ireland. People want the Executive and the Assembly up and running, people want equality and they want good government they can have confidence in. Political leaders should be working together.”
Politicians from all sides are pushing the DUP and Sinn Fein to sit in the Stormont Assembly once again. Tánaiste Simon Coveney is making one big push to get the Northern government back up and running, travelling to Belfast for a series of private meetings. The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Karen Bradley told MP’s in her address in the House of Commons, “I intend to hold discussions with party leaders later this week to see what progress can be made.”