Video: Lyra McKee death gave new impetus to power-sharing efforts, says Bruton

The political talks convened in the aftermath of the death of Lyra McKee may bear fruit but it’s too early to say whether or not the Stormont Assembly can be revived by next month.

Friday, 31st May 2019, 5:34 pm
Updated Friday, 31st May 2019, 6:34 pm
The late Lyra McKee.

That’s according to the Irish Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton, who said he was hopeful of a breakthrough but would not be drawn on deadlines.

“There is a huge urgency, as the Government has recognised. To be fair, in the aftermath of that appalling killing of Lyra McKee, there has been political initiative both by the British and Irish Governments and the parties have initiated talks. Clearly, it is our hope those talks will bear fruit,” said Deputy Bruton when quizzed about the talks in the Dáil.

The matter was raised by the Deputy Leader of Fianna Fáil, Dara Calleary, who said: “The horrific murder of Lyra McKee on Holy Thursday by a dissident group of the New IRA [sic] was condemned by all sides in this House and on our island.

The late Lyra McKee.

“However, Fr. Martin McGill struck a chord with everybody on the island when he spoke at the funeral and demanded that political leaders get their act together. He said: ‘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 to this point?’

“The Minister knows that people are fed up. They want to see progress and something happen from these talks.”

Deputy Calleary asked if the Minister felt the Tánaiste Simon Coveney’s hope - expressed in the wake of Lyra’s death - that power-sharing could be restored by July was realistic.

“The Tánaiste said in April that he wanted the talks to be inclusive, determined and urgent and that it was his hope that the assembly would be up and running again by July.

“That is a month away. Is it the Government’s view at the end of May that this deadline set by the Tánaiste can be met?” asked Deputy Calleary.

Deputy Bruton said: “While I am not going to accept the Deputy’s invitation to speculate on either the immediate prospects of a break through or the optimal timing for such discussions I would underpin the importance the Deputy is attributing to it. These opportunities to resolve these issue only come rarely and never has it been at a more crucial time for NI when we have the prospect of Brexit occurring, and even the potential of a hard Brexit.”

The Minister said divisions over the United Kingdom imminent departure from the European Union had re-opened old fault lines for politicians.

“We must be very conscious that we do not want to aggravate that while at the same time the reason we are holding out so strongly in regard to the negotiations on Brexit is that we have a universal commitment in this state to protect the Good Friday Agreement and everything that has been enshrined in it,” he said.

Deputy Calleary said: “Faults lines must be challenged and dismantled.”

He warned that Fr. McGill’s words at Lyra McKee’s funeral must not be “put on the shelf again”.

The late Lyra McKee.