Northern Ireland’s political parties will have to switch their focus quickly from this week’s local government elections to hot-house talks, aimed at reviving the Assembly at Stormont. The British and Irish governments will convene a new set of negotiations on Tuesday.
At a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, the Prime Minister reportedly told colleagues that the process has gained “momentum” following the funeral of Lyra McKee, a 29 year-old journalist who was shot dead by republican paramilitaries in Londonderry. The murder led to a “renewed rejection of violence by the people of Northern Ireland,” who, “expressed their frustration at the current impasse and their desire to see devolved government restored quickly,” according to Theresa May’s spokesman.
Undoubtedly, the shooting has created a new atmosphere around the province’s political parties, whose leaders issued a joint statement condemning the incident and appeared together at events afterwards. The words of Father Martin Magill, who scolded politicians at the funeral for uniting only after the death of a young woman, were reported widely and resonated with mourners and the public.