Londonderry ‘revolted’ by journalist killing

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Londonderry has expressed revulsion at the murder of journalist Lyra McKee.

A bunch of flowers left outside the city’s landmark civic building, the 19th century Guildhall, said “never in my name”.

Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley was amongst the first to sign a book of condolence inside the Guildhall on Saturday morning.

She wrote: “A tragic loss, such promise, such energy, so much potential.

“We can only imagine what you would have achieved.”

A pro-dissident republican slogan written on a wall near the site of the killing was altered to read “IRA are done” and branded it a “defeated army”.

Vigils attended by thousands have been held at the scene of the killing in the Creggan estate and in the city centre.

A floral tribute at the scene left by Ms McKee’s partner Sara read: “My beautiful Lyra, our time together was too short, and your light was snuffed out too soon.

“I love you forever, your Sara xxx.”

Local resident John McGonagle signed the book of condolence (Michael McHugh/PA)

He had been a city centre business owner during the decades of conflict when violent deaths were commonplace.

Mr McGonagle said: “I am revolted by the whole thing. It is a retrograde step.

“Derry is one of the most wonderful cities in the world.

“It does not need it or deserve it and Lyra did not deserve to die, it is as simple as that.”

He added: “There has just been a quiet anger. I normally would not do this sort of thing but in this case it merits it really.”

Civic, church, political and community leaders in the city have supported the communities’ “overwhelming” demand for an end to all violence, a joint statement said.

Anyone in need of immediate support following the traumatic killing and general disorder, which was widely shared on social media, was urged to contact healthcare professionals.

A heart-shaped tribute at the scene also read “not in our name” and was simply signed by the people of Derry.

Londonderry was scarred by the Troubles.

The violent conflict started there, with pitched battles between youths and police in the Bogside estate; the cradle of Martin McGuinness’ rise to prominence.

Mr McGuinness converted from senior IRA commander to peacemaker and eventually deputy first minister in Stormont’s powersharing administration alongside his former arch-enemy the Rev Ian Paisley.

Londonderry unrest
Flowers left at the scene where 29-year-old journalist Lyra McKee was shot (Brian Lawless/PA)

A vigil held at the scene on Friday afternoon condemning the killers of Lyra McKee attested to that.

Ms McKee died from a bullet fired indiscriminately but intended to hit police officers during Thursday’s riots.

Stormont powersharing is suspended and independent reports have expressed concern about renewed barriers to community policing in some nationalist parts of Northern Ireland.

Recently, a planned event in Londonderry involving young people opposed to stop and search powers exercised by police was called off.

Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) chief constable George Hamilton said the intention was for officers to have difficult conversations but demonstrators against their involvement forced its cancellation.

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