Saturday 21 September 2019

Brother of Veronica Guerin says murder of young journalist is 'an act of butchery'

Journalist Lyra McKee died after being shot on Thursday (Family handout/PA)
Journalist Lyra McKee died after being shot on Thursday (Family handout/PA)

Allison Bray

The brother of slain journalist Veronica Guerin has described the killing of another young journalist in the line of duty as "an act of butchery".

"I don't think the term outrage is strong enough," he told this afternoon.

"It's an act of butchery," he said. "It was an immoral attack."

Fingal county councillor Jimmy Guerin said that while Belfast journalist Lyra McKee (29) did not appear to be targeted specifically because she is a journalist, the fact is she was killed while simply doing her job.

Lyra McKee was shot in the head in what police are treating as a
Lyra McKee was shot in the head in what police are treating as a "terrorist incident" Photo: Brendan Gallagher
Lyra McKee's death is being treated as a 'terrorist incident'

“All she was doing was doing her job,” he said. “Her only crime was standing too close to a PSNI vehicle.”

Sunday Independent crime correspondent Veronica Guerin (37)  was gunned down as she was driving back to Dublin from the Naas District Court on June 26, 1996.

The married mother-of-one had been targeted by drug lords for exposing Dublin’s gangland responsible for flooding the capital with illicit  drugs.

The ensuing public outcry over her murder lead to the creation of the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) which has been  instrumental since her death in seizing the proceeds of crime from criminals and bringing them to justice.

Jimmy Guerin Picture: Collins
Jimmy Guerin Picture: Collins

While his sister was targeted specifically for exposing criminals, Mr Guerin said Ms McKee was also murdered “because she was out doing her job.”

“I think we’re very close to heading back to the dark days,” he said of a return to The Troubles.

Veronica Guerin
Veronica Guerin

He said the ongoing political stalemate at Stormont and growing division between the DUP and Sinn Fein was the perfect breeding ground for a new generation of paramilitary terrorists.

The so-called New IRA is believed to be behind the night of rioting in Derry on Thursday night when Ms McKee was shot in what is now believed to be a random shooting spree.

But Mr Guerin said the return to such violence in the North is inevitable unless politicians on both sides of the political divide reach a consensus.

“Communities see this division,” he said.

“The new (paramilitary) activists see this and are exploiting it,” he said.

“Politicians have a responsibility but they’re not stepping up to the plate (to end the division), ” he said.

Read more here: Lyra McKee's partner says their 'hopes and dreams' have been 'snuffed out by single barbaric attack'

Lyra McKee on Northern Ireland, the ceasefire, suicide, difficult conversations and hope

Lyra McKee was a 'prodigiously talent journalist, one of the brightest and best of her generation'

Taoiseach: 'Lyra's murder is an attack on our nation'

WATCH: Lyra McKee's powerful TedX talk that made her a 'hero' to many in LGBT community 

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