Remembering Lyra McKee
MEMBERS of London Freelance Branch attended a vigil for freelance journalist Lyra McKee at Saint Bride's Church on 24 April, coinciding with her funeral in Belfast. Lyra was shot on the night of 18 April while covering rioting in Derry, Northern Ireland. She died of her injuries.
The National Union of Journalists issued a statement in which General Secretary Michelle Stanistreet said: "A young, vibrant life has been destroyed in a senseless act of violence. Our thoughts are with her partner, family and many friends and colleagues. A bright light has been quenched and that plunges all of us in to darkness."
International Federation of Journalists President Philippe Leruth said "We express our deep condolences to Lyra McKee's family and relatives. Lyra's death is a real loss for press freedom in Europe and for the young generation of journalists."
European Federation of Journalists President Mogens Blicher Bjerregård added: "Lyra McKee was a very dedicated journalist. She has extensively covered the Northern Irish conflict, focusing on the victims of violence. She was killed on duty, while informing the public about last night's police operations. We call on the authorities to shed light on this crime. Her case cannot become a new case of impunity [for those who attack journalists]."
The leaders of the Ulster Unionist Party, Democratic Unionist Party, Sinn Fein, Social Democratic and Labour Party, Alliance Party and Green Party issued a rare joint statement condemning the "heinous crime".
Lyra had worked for the Belfast Telegraph and was also known for her Letter to My 14-Year-Old Self, written in 2014 about what it would be like to come out to her mother as a lesbian.
"There is no comfort for us in knowing that her killing, unlike that of Martin O'Hagan or Veronica Guerin, was not targeted," Ciarán Ó Maoláin, Secretary of Belfast and District Branch to which Lyra belonged, said. "It would be wrong to say that she was fearless - she was too intelligent for that," he added.
"She was, however, brave enough to take calculated risks in pursuit of a story and before the shot was fired she may have felt safest in the lee of an armoured police vehicle." RIP Lyra McKee.
- A GoFundMe appeal to go to the family of Lyra McKee for funeral expenses and to decide on her legacy had raised £53,000 by the end of 20 April and a further £13,000 by 5 May.