Politicial Leaders Pay Tribute to Slain Journalist at Derry Vigil

Several vigils were held across Ireland and Northern Ireland for Lyra McKee on April 19, one day after the 29-year-old journalist was killed in what the PSNI described as a “terrorist act” during riots in the Creggan area of Derry, Northern Ireland.

Speaking at a vigil held at the scene of the shooting in Creggan , Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said people should respond to the shooting by dedicating themselves to peace. She branded the shooting as a “gross act of violence against the people of Derry and the people of Ireland.”

McDonald said she was carrying a rainbow flag in tribute to McKee, who was an LGBT activist, as well as for McKee’s partner and her family.

McKee, who was gay, delivered a TED talk at Stormont in Belfast in November 2017 in which she argued that changes in religious teaching were necessary for the development of LGBT rights. At the time of her death, she was working on a book about children and young men who disappeared during the Troubles in Northern Ireland. The book was due to be published by Faber & Faber, who reportedly described McKee as a “rising star on investigative journalism” and said she had a “knack of engaging the head and the heart.”

DUP leader Arlene Foster, visiting the Republican stronghold of Creggan for the first time, told the crowd at the vigil: “Your pain is my pain. It doesn’t matter whether you are a Catholic or Protestant. Whether you identify as Irish or British.”

McKee’s partner Sara Canning also addressed the crowd, describing McKee’s killing as a “barbaric act.”

Vigils were also due to be held on Friday in Dublin and Belfast. Credit: @GMLmusic via Storyful