Helen James shares her favourite no knead bread recipe

IMAGE

Repeat after me: There is nothing wrong with not wanting a promotion

Colette Sexton

Are Buckingham Palace trying to smear Meghan Markle?

Jennifer McShane

WATCH: This powerful ad is going viral for its realistic depiction of breastfeeding

Jennifer McShane

Our pick of new-in homeware to bring that spring feeling into your home

Megan Burns

There were so many great small-space ideas in last night’s ‘Home of the Year’

Lauren Heskin

‘My 11-year-old daughter lost a dangerous amount of weight before I realised it was anorexia’

IMAGE

‘First-time fatherhood is like the flicking of a switch. Now you’re not. Now you are.’

Peter Crawley

Make the ultimate comfort food with this chicken and mushroom pie

IMAGE Interiors & Living

Image / Editorial

Lyra McKee: The ceasefire baby whose life ended with a single bullet


by Amanda Cassidy
19th Apr 2019

Tributes are being paid to journalist Lyra McKee who was killed last night during riots in Derry. The 29-year-old was featured in the Forbes 30 Under 30 List, had a growing international reputation and was working on her second book, writes Amanda Cassidy.

 

She described herself as a ceasefire baby  – too young to remember the worst of the terror of The Troubles in Northern Ireland. “We were the Good Friday Agreement generation, destined to never witness the horrors of war but to reap the spoils of peace,” she wrote in an article in Mosaic two years ago about growing up in the North.

The Belfast-born investigative reporter was praised for “changing lives as she lived and will do so again in death” by Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar. The head of the National Union of Journalists also offered his condolences to McKee’s family and partner, describing the reporter as a “journalist of courage, style and integrity.”

In a joint statement today, the leaders of all of Northern Ireland’s major political parties condemned the murder “in the strongest terms possible” adding that “Lyra’s murder was also an attack on all the people of this community, an attack on the peace and democratic processes.

Just 29 years old

“We are united in rejecting those responsible for this heinous crime.”

It’s believed that McKee was shot in the head at about 11 pm last night during clashes between police at the Creggan estate in Derry, a traditional Republican stronghold. Early reports suggest that police raided the estate looking for guns and explosives which they believed were hidden for use over the Easter weekend – the anniversary of the 1916 Easter rising. Petrol bombs were thrown and cars set on fire. Shots were fired and Lyra fell to the ground beside a police vehicle. A fellow journalist tweeted  “I called an ambulance for her but police put her in the back of their vehicle and rushed her to hospital where she died. Just 29 years old. Sick to my stomach tonight.”

Bravery

McKee was a beautifully succinct writer who made a name for herself writing about her experiences growing up gay in Belfast. She focused on wider investigative pieces and had pieces published in the Atlantic and Private Eye. She was also a powerful LGBTQ and human rights activist, along with her partner Sara Canning, who spoke at her devastation at a vigil earlier today in Derry. “Lyra’s death must not be in vain,” she said quietly through tears. “I’ve lost the woman I was bound to grow old with’.

Last night McKee, who was reporting on the disturbances, posted a picture on Twitter showing smoke as police vans drove towards Creggan estate. Her caption was short – she simply described the scene as “absolute madness”.

 

“We will not be dragged into the past”

A full investigation is now being carried out into the shooting but this afternoon, the PSNI’s Stephen Martin said he believed more than one person was involved in the murder. He told a press conference in Derry “we certainly believe there was more than one person who was involved in this last night. Obviously, only one person pulled the trigger but there was more than one person.”

In a sobering speech today on the steps of Government Buildings, the Taoiseach vowed not to let cowards drag Ireland back into the past. “Twenty-one years ago today on Good Friday, we as a people, north and south, chose peace, democracy, powersharing and ever closer co-operation, and we will not be dragged into the past”.

A GoFundMe campaign has been set up in Lyra’s name with the money raised going to her family for funeral expenses and to decide on her legacy. Lyra McKee’s death was a senseless loss of life, an attack on us all and a threat to the fragility of the peace we’ve now almost taken for granted.

She wrote poignantly in one of her articles; “No matter whether we were old or young, war added new habits to our lives – everyday rituals that wouldn’t be so every day in most countries without war, like not taking your toy gun outside in case a passing army patrol or police jeep mistook it for a real one and fired. Or watching your feet as you walked to school because the police were searching the area for a suspected device. Or getting hit by rocks that came flying over the ‘peace wall’ that separated us from the other side. Yet those things were minor compared to seeing someone shot in front of you, as people older than us had done.”

The leaders are right, there is no place for political violence in Ireland or Northern Ireland today. Lyra died as she lived – charting with honesty and integrity her experiences of life in the North. The fact that she died on Good Friday is spine-chillingly poignant.

Also Read

EDITORIAL
5 classic movies you must watch during the festive season

Jennifer McShane celebrates the classic films of her childhood that made...

By Jennifer McShane

ADVICE, RELATIONSHIPS, BEAUTY
Cosmetic injectables: ‘It takes a brave and honourable clinic to tell someone ‘you don’t need this”

 Less may be more when it comes to cosmetic enhancements,...

By Amanda Cassidy

Netflix
EDITORIAL
5 uplifting Netflix picks that will absolutely bring you joy

For a lift, reminding us of simpler times, and that...

By Jennifer McShane

Aoibheann MacNamara
EDITORIAL
Inside a house conversion brimming with Scandi-Galwegian chic

Artistic dynamo Aoibheann MacNamara has loved every moment she’s spent...

By IMAGE Interiors & Living

Has society become more tolerant of the idea of dating interracially?
premium IMAGE WRITES, REAL-LIFE STORIES, RELATIONSHIPS
Interracial dating: “People kept asking ‘where is she from?'”

With diversity on the rise, what struggles do interracial couples continue to face today? Filomena Kaguako speaks to three couples about their experiences.

By Filomena Kaguako

EDITORIAL
‘Nobody is forcing us to replace all our dinner plates with firtree and silver versions with matching tea-towels’

I get it. Christmas is a list-fiesta, the to-do Olympics;...

By Amanda Cassidy

EDITORIAL
The Menopause Diaries: The dreaded dryness down under

Helen Seymour is in Peri-Menopause, or at least she thinks...

By Helen Seymour

EDITORIAL
Eclipsed: The powerful, all-female play exposing a Magdalene Laundry you need to see

‘Eclipsed’ director Kate Canning told Jennifer McShane of the challenges...

By Jennifer McShane