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  1. ITV Report

Bradley to meet NI leaders following McKee murder

Karen Bradley said she plans to meet political leaders. Credit: UTV

Secretary of State Karen Bradley says she plans to hold discussions with Northern Ireland’s political leaders later this week.

It follows calls for fresh talks aimed at restoring the Stormont institutions in the wake of the murder of Lyra McKee, who was shot dead by a ‘New IRA’ gunman in Londonderry.

Speaking in the House of Commons, the secretary of state paid tribute to the 29-year-old journalist and said her death “should not have happened and cannot be in vain”.

Ms Bradley said: “I have heard those in Northern Ireland calling for political leaders now to come together.

“And I am sure the whole house will have welcomed the united display from leaders of the political parties in the Creggan estate on Friday.”

Lyra once wrote of being part of the Good Friday Agreement Generation and the need to reap the spoils of peace.

Our lasting tribute to Lyra will be to ensure that we continue to work for peace for the whole of Northern Ireland.

– Secretary of State Karen Bradley

She went on: “I intend to hold discussions with party leaders later this week to see what progress can be made.

“Our clear and overriding objective must be the restoration of all the political institutions established by the Belfast Agreement.

“Northern Ireland’s politicians need to take charge, including in the vitally important area of tackling all forms of paramilitary activity.”

Ms Bradley said the ‘New IRA’ statement apologising for the death was “hollow”.

She said: “To those responsible for this act of terrorism we say we have heard your excuses and your hollow apologies.

“No-one buys it. This was no accident. There is nothing that can justify this murderous act and you are being called out for what you really are.”

Lyra McKee’s funeral will take place in Belfast on Wednesday afternoon.

Ms Bradley is expected to attend, alongside local political leaders, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, and Irish President Michael D Higgins.

There is speculation that Prime Minister Theresa May will also attend, however that has not yet been confirmed.