The Times newspaper slammed for its headline describing Sinn Fein’s Michelle O’Neill as a ‘pregnant schoolgirl’


There was criticism among some on social media after an online Times headline described Sinn Fein’s Michelle O’Neill as a ‘pregnant schoolgirl’.

It comes as media across the UK and around the world reacted to the Assembly election result and Sinn Fein’s emergence as Stormont’s biggest party.

The Times article on Ms O’Neill, which was published after the Assembly election result on Saturday, was originally headlined ‘from pregnant schoolgirl to Northern Ireland’s next leader’, before being amended afterwards by the newspaper.

The author of the article, journalist Rosamund Urwin, defended the article online and claimed that it “talked about the prejudices of society and that she says it herself”.

“I think this story is inspiring. Obviously, headlines are not written by journalists,” she added.

Some on Twitter called the initial headline “really inappropriate”, others called it “out of order”.

Responding to the article, former DUP special adviser Richard Bullick wrote: “I don’t think it will be news that I’m not a Sinn Fein fan, but I’m not sure it’s a appropriate title.”

However, others defended the article with online user Sheila Fitz tweeting: “So many people are getting upset about this.

“But Michelle spoke openly about the discrimination and struggles she faced as a teenage mother. And how it made her resilient. She is treated fairly in the article.

“Headlines sell stories after all and this is a good story.”

Emma Rainey added: “The rest of the article wasn’t designed that way – it was pretty cool. Glad to see the title at least has been changed from what I can see.

Sinn Fein has been contacted for a response.

The result of the Northern Ireland Assembly election grabbed headlines across the world as global media attention was fixed on how Stormont is set to transform .

There was significant interest on both sides of the Atlantic, as news outlets ran their major bulletins and front pages on the story.

Images of Sinn Fein’s Mary Lou McDonald and Michelle O’Neill arm in arm as they emerged into the counting center for celebratory scenes on Saturday dominate many broadcasts.


Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald (centre right) and Michelle O’Neill (centre left) at Magherafelt in County Londonderry (Liam McBurney/PA)


Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald (centre right) and Michelle O’Neill (centre left) at Magherafelt in County Londonderry (Liam McBurney/PA)

The Sunday Times described Northern Ireland as being in a “febrile state”, saying the Sinn Fein election result would rekindle tensions around Brexit.

Meanwhile, the Observer newspaper has led on the Nationalist party’s historic election result which saw them top the polls and sack 27 MPs – calling the vote victory ‘earthquake’.

The Independent claimed the result ‘heralded a new era’ for Northern Ireland after Sinn Fein became the biggest party for the first time.

There was also significant coverage south of the border, with the Irish Times focusing on calls by Secretary of State Brandon Lewis for the DUP to return to Stormont and appoint a Deputy Prime Minister.

The Irish Mail on Sunday focused on comments from Tanaiste Leo Varadkar that a border poll is now less likely after the election.

The events of the past few days have also sparked intense interest in the United States, as American newspapers and media have digested the outcome.

The New York Times claimed that Britain was “turning away from the EU, Northern Ireland was turning towards Sinn Fein”.


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