Northern Ireland news


Michelle O'Neill reveals how she had to 'push man out door' of home amid concerns over politicians' security

Sinn Féin Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill
Seanín Graham

DEPUTY First Minister Michelle O'Neill has revealed how she had to push a man out the front door of her home in a terrifying incident that led to her personal security being overhauled.

As concerns mount about the safety of politicians following the murder of English MP Sir David Amess, the Sinn Féin northern leader told The Irish News about the "disgusting and disgraceful" intrusion which made her fear for her family's safety.

Ms O'Neill also disclosed how she received death threats from a woman in a separate incident.

The intruder made his way, uninvited, into her home shortly after she succeeded the late Martin McGuinness four years ago.

"It happened one evening as I was coming home and just getting into the house. Just before I had the door closed he had made his way into my house and started giving me his view on a particular issue which I didn’t agree with," she said.

"He had made his way into my house and I had to tell him to get out - to the point it came to me physically pushing him out the door.

"It was a frightening experience and it made me heighten the security around my home. It made me think very carefully about how I protected myself and also my family, because crucially behind all of us in elected life there’s a family and a support network who need to be minded. I increased security as a direct result of that incident."

She added: "These are the things that have to be called out. I think everyone out there accepts this is disgusting and disgraceful behaviour and no-one should be subjected to that."

While she did not alert police at the time, she confirmed she had reported a separate death threat made against her. A woman was arrested but not charged.

"By and large I think the public are good and engaging but you just have this element that thinks it’s fine to harass and intimidate and say what they want," Ms O'Neill added.

Meanwhile, police were called to a protest at the offices of Sinn Féin north Belfast MP John Finucane yesterday. A PSNI spokesman said no offence detected.

SDLP infrastructure minister Nichola Mallon spoke out at the weekend after her staff were confronted by anti-vaccination protestors at her constituency offices in north Belfast last Monday.

A group filmed staff as they handed over "sinister" legal documents challenging Stormont's handling of the pandemic.

Ms Mallon said she has never witnessed such levels of "anger and vitriol".

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