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19th Apr 2019

Tributes pour in for journalist Lyra McKee following her tragic death in Derry shooting

Conor Heneghan

Lyra McKee

Lyra McKee’s death has been condemned as “a senseless act of violence”.

The tragic death of Lyra McKee has been described as “disturbing”, “profoundly saddening” and as “a senseless act of violence” by the General Secretary of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ).

McKee was shot dead following an outbreak of orchestrated violence in the Fanad Drive area of Creggan in Derry on Thursday night.

It is believed that McKee was wounded by gunshots fired by a single gunman – whom the PSNI believe to be a violent dissident republican – and subsequently died from her injuries.

In a statement, Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ General Secretary, said the murder has shocked colleagues in Northern Ireland and expressed sympathy to McKee’s partner and her NUJ colleagues, saying that she was regarded as one of the most promising journalists in Northern Ireland.

“The killing of a journalist in these circumstances is deeply shocking,” Stanistreet said.

“To wake up to this news on Good Friday morning is disturbing and profoundly saddening. 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.

“Alongside her journalistic work Lyra had a promising future as a novelist and in a relatively short career was recognised as a bright, intelligent reporter. Faber is due to publish her book, The Lost Boys, in 2020. Her death is a major loss to journalism.”

Séamus Dooley, NUJ Assistant General Secretary, added: “Lyra McKee was a journalist of courage, style and integrity. She was a woman of great commitment and passion. I have no doubt that it was that commitment which led to her presence on the streets of the Creggan last night, observing a riot situation in the city. She had tweeted just minutes before being hit by a bullet. She had also spoken to a journalist colleague from the riot scene.”

“This killing serves as a reminder of the ongoing instability in Northern Ireland and must serve as a reminder to those in positions of political leadership to end the political deadlock,” Dooley added.

“Our thoughts are also with the members of the PSNI, especially those who came to Lyra’s assistance after she had been struck by a bullet.”

McKee worked at the Belfast Telegraph before establishing a reputation as a freelance journalist and was named on the Forbes 30 under 30 list in the media category in 2016.

She first came to the attention of many people with a piece in 2014 titled ‘Letter to my 14-year-old self’, about growing up gay in Belfast, which was subsequently developed into a short film.

Clip via StayBeautifulFilms1

A prominent campaigner for LGBT rights, she also delivered a TEDx talk about tolerance in 2017 and had recently signed a two-book deal with Faber, who described her as a “rising star of investigative journalism”.

Tributes to McKee have poured in across social media since her tragic death last night.

Main image via LinkedIn