By Jonathan McCambridge, PA
The government of Mauritius has agreed to look again at the case of murdered honeymooner Michaela McAreavey, Arlene Foster and Michelle O’Neill have confirmed.
The North's First Minister and Deputy First Minister met with the McAreavey family on Monday to update them on progress following engagement with the Mauritian government.
The 27-year-old, who was the only daughter of all-Ireland winning GAA manager Mickey Harte, was strangled in her hotel room on the Indian Ocean island on January 10th, 2011.
The Co Tyrone teacher, who had been married 10 days earlier, was attacked as she returned to her room alone and disturbed a burglary.
Two former workers at the luxury resort – Sandip Moneea and Avinash Treebhoowoon – were acquitted after a high-profile trial on the holiday island in the summer of 2012.
Mrs McAreavey’s widower John has led a long campaign for justice on behalf of her loved ones.
He welcomed the new development, tweeting: “A significant step in the right direction. Thank you Michelle and Arlene.”
Options are currently being explored on how best to further support the family in their efforts to see justice, the First and Deputy First Minister said.
Outgoing First Minister Mrs Foster said: “The death of Michaela McAreavey whilst on honeymoon touched everyone across Northern Ireland.
“The fact that, more than 10 years later, no-one has been brought to justice for this most dreadful crime only serves to compound the grief and pain endured by Michaela’s family.”
She added: “I felt both a personal and professional responsibility to do everything possible to bring about justice for a young woman who was so cruelly taken from the many people who knew and loved her.
“And I’m pleased that one of my last duties as First Minister was to update the family on this important progress and show my support for their unrelenting campaign.”
Ms O’Neill said: “Michaela McAreavey was a remarkable young woman; adored by her family, friends and students. The taking of her young life was devastating for all who knew her.
“In pursuit of justice for Michaela, the Harte and McAreavey families have fought a decade-long battle with dignity and determination. We gave a commitment to support them in that battle and I’m encouraged that we have now received agreement from the Mauritian government to look again at the case.
“Michaela deserves justice and the very least her family deserve is truth. No stone should be left unturned in pursuing that, and we will continue to do all we can to see it delivered.”