The Northern Ireland Office is being accused of using the grief of the family of Lyra McKee to further their agenda. Yesterday, Wednesday, October 16 the NIO posted a video online of Lyra’s sister, Nichola Corner, calling for the restoration of the devolved government at Stormont.
The now-deleted video saw Corner sit down and plea for the return of the executive to ensure no more people are killed in Northern Ireland as they, in her own words, are the ones who “have the power to make bigger changes”.
The NIO described the video as a “heartfelt plea to Northern Ireland politicians to restore devolved institutions now” before deleting it soon after, possibly due to the backlash it received and the accusations that they were capitalising on the death of Lyra McKee.
You’ve had over 1000 days since Stormont last sat, and it’s been 181 days since @LyraMcKee was murdered. Your time to act has passed and we will not accept inequality on any level. Legislation will be passed and we will he brought into line with the rest of these islands.
— Sara (@Teh_Woo) October 15, 2019
Ms Corner clarified that if she could have foreseen the reaction, she would not have partaken 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.”
Many criticised this “appalling manipulation” of McKee’s family’s grief with Naomi Long, Alliance leader and MEP, stating that the video was “in very poor taste”. She continued to say that this video issued by the NIO was “an appalling manipulation of a family’s grief” and that “the NIO know ‘now’ means denying both LGBTQ+ people and women their rights.”
Long added that they are “ready to restore an assembly and executive capable of delivering equality and human rights for all of our people.” As it stands, if the devolution is not restored by this coming Monday, October 21, abortion laws are set to be reformed as well as same-sex marriage legalised in Northern Ireland under Westminster legislation. Thus, this move by the NOI is seen as a last-ditch effort to avoid this happening, though when pressed for comments by media outlets they did not respond.
Others on Twitter shared the MEPs sentiments and also spoke out against the timing and framing of the video.
👇 Typical DUP stunt. Where were DUP, and SF, doing this in aftermath of Lyra McKee’s murder, when that would have been the example to set. Risible pygmies the lot of them.👇 #DUPlicity https://t.co/h85fHuQNU3
— GavinNixon☘️🌍🌈#FBPE (@GavNix) October 16, 2019
Lyra McKee was murdered by the so-called “New IRA” on the evening of April 18 while reporting on riots that had broken out in the Creggan estate in Co. Derry.
© 2019 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.
For 30 years GCN has been a vital, free-of-charge information service for Ireland’s LGBT+ community. We want to go on providing this community hub in print and online, helping countless individuals across the country, but the revenue from advertising across the media is falling.
GCN needs your support. If you value having an independent LGBT+ media in Ireland, you can help from only €1.99 per month. Support Ireland’s free, independent LGBT+ media.