Northern Ireland

Michelle O’Neill heckled over White House visit by pro-Palestinian protestors at Derry festival

First minister was criticised for attending St Patrick’s Day engagements in Washington D.C

Michelle O'Neill and Emma Little-Pengelly attended engagements in New York and Washington DC ahead of Sunday's St Patrick's Day meeting with Mr Biden.
Michelle O'Neill and Emma Little-Pengelly in Washington D.C in March.

Pro-Palestinian protestors have heckled Stormont First Minister Michelle O’Neill during an event in Derry.

The Sinn Féin vice-president was speaking at a ‘Women and Leadership’ interview in the city’s St Columb’s Hall on Thursday evening.

The event was held as part of the Yes Festival, and saw Ms O’Neill joined by deputy First Minister, the DUP’s Emma Little-Pengelly.

The Stormont leaders were taking part in the discussion with author and columnist Martina Devlin, when the interview was interrupted by members of the Derry branch of the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC).

They criticised Ms O’Neill for attending St Patrick’s Day events at the White House in Washington D.C.

A campaigner stood from her seat in the hall and referred to United Nations figures published in February showing 17,000 children in the Gaza have been left unaccompanied or separated from their families as a result of Israel’s invasion of the Palestinian territory.

She added: “Was it worth going to the White House?”

Footage taken during the interruption shows the protestor reading aloud an account of six-year-old Palestinian girl Hind Rajab, who was killed by IDF gunfire along with two ambulance workers, before the woman again asks Ms O’Neill if it was “worth going to Washington” to meet with US President Joe Biden.

Mr Biden has been criticised for the US’s ongoing support for Israel.

Over 37,000 Palestinians are believed to have been killed since Israel’s invasion began last October.

Following the visit to the White House in March alongside the deputy First Minister, Ms O’Neill said: “I again raised my grave concerns directly with President Biden on the genocide of Palestinian people, and the demand for an urgent ceasefire in Gaza, full provision of humanitarian aid; an end to illegal settlements in the West Bank, and East Jerusalem; and a sovereign Palestinian State.”