06/03/2020

Stormont Speaker Warned Of 'Imminent Attack' Against Him

The Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly has been informed of an "imminent attack" against him.

Sinn Fein MLA Alex Maskey revealed he had been visited by the PSNI on Thursday and told a threat had been received.

It comes after the deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill and party colleague Gerry Kelly were made aware of a planned attack by dissident republicans after attending a PSNI recruitment campaign launch last month.

The west Belfast MLA said he stands undeterred by the threat.

"I note that this threat was received in the week when I announced my intention to use the role of Speaker to represent every side of the Assembly Chamber and to engage with every section of our community. This threat will not deter me from those events or continuing such efforts in the future.
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"As Speaker of the Assembly, I will be clear that intimidation of any elected representative in our democratic institutions is deplorable whether threats of this nature or vile abuse on social media. It can only be responded to by continuing to work to take our society forward."

Commenting on the news, Ms O'Neill said her thoughts are with the Speaker and his family.

"Alex Maskey has in the past been seriously injured, and his friend and party colleague Alan Lundy murdered, in attacks on his home by loyalist death squads," the mid Ulster representative said.

"This latest threat against Alex comes on the heels of threats against Gerry Kelly and myself and attacks and threats against party members from Republican dissidents.

"Alex Maskey is a lifelong community and republican activist."

Ms O'Neill said the threats are an attack on the whole democratic process.



(JG/CM)

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