herald

Saturday 21 September 2019

Hundreds in vigil for shot Lyra vow her name will live on

People march in solidarity outside the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin. Photo: Niall Carson
People march in solidarity outside the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin. Photo: Niall Carson
People march in solidarity outside the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin. Photo: Niall Carson
The vigil yesterday showing its support for murdered journalist Lyra McKee. Pic: Collins Photo Agency

There were hugs and tears yesterday as a crowd gathered at the Garden of Remembrance in a vigil for murdered journalist Lyra McKee.

More than 100 people turned out to honour the memory of the 29-year-old writer, who was shot dead in Derry on Thursday night during a riot in the Creggan area.

The crowd marched to the Hugh Lane Gallery, where a series of speeches, songs and pieces written by Ms McKee were read.

The vigil was organised by the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), which announced that a bursary will be set up in her memory.

Secretary of the Irish NUJ Seamus Dooley told the Herald that out of the €60,000 raised from its members' GoFundMe page, a grant will be set up that reflects Ms McKee's life.

Funeral

The union will also use part of the funds to cover the costs of her funeral, which takes place today.

"The GoFundMe page has raised an astonishing €60,000 already and I'm sure it will keep on growing," said Mr Dooley.

"That will meet the funeral costs and fund a bursary that reflects the diverse interests and personality of Lyra."

Mr Dooley also hit out at the march that hardline republican group Saoradh held in Dublin on Saturday.

"The people who marched through the city on Saturday don't represent anyone," he said. "We represent the voice of workers, both north and south.

"As far as I'm concerned, the people of Derry have spoken for the people of Ireland and it's the people of Derry we need to listen to.

"The message from this is that we have to make sure there are no more killings."

The New IRA has claimed responsibility for Ms McKee's death.

Rebecca Gallagher (39), who was at yesterday's vigil, said the tragedy was something no one should forget.

"I grew up in Belfast during the Troubles and believe there is a very small minority that want to bring the entire country back to the days of non-stop violence," she said.

"It's terrifying to know these people are armed and prepared to shoot to kill.

"The only way to defeat these nutjobs is to stand together as a country and show them we're not afraid.

"We should never forget what happened to Lyra because there's always the danger of history repeating itself."

Dr Grainne Healy, co-director of the Yes Equality Campaign, read Ms McKee's "Letter To My 14-year-old Self".

Excerpts from her many other works were read aloud as the crowd stood in silence with Pride flags.

They left flowers and candles around pictures of Ms McKee, and the vigil concluded with a minute of applause.

The NUJ said: "Lyra's murder is a devastating blow to her partner and family and her many friends and colleagues throughout the NUJ.

"We keep in our thoughts Lyra's partner Sara, her mother Joan, sisters Nichola, Mary and Joan and her brothers Gary and David.

"The union is encouraging every NUJ member to take part in a symbolic action of solidarity."

You can donate to the fund at https://www.gofundme.com/in-memory-of-lyra- mckee.

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