Monday 20 May 2019

Free Derry Corner repainted after Lyra McKee murder

The journalist, 29, was shot dead by indiscriminate fire during violence in Londonderry on Thursday evening.

A message of condolence for 29-year-old journalist Lyra McKee which has been graffittied on to the Free Derry Corner. Photo: Joe Boland/PA Wire
A message of condolence for 29-year-old journalist Lyra McKee which has been graffittied on to the Free Derry Corner. Photo: Joe Boland/PA Wire

Michael McHugh

The landmark Free Derry Corner has been repainted to reflect revulsion felt at the killing of Lyra McKee.

The famous civil rights-era slogan on a gable wall is regularly altered to reflect community sentiment in the Bogside estate in Derry.

The city’s Catholic bishop has said the nationalist community needs to be liberated from dissident republicans blamed for Miss McKee’s shooting on Thursday evening.

A message at Free Derry Corner said: “Not in our name, RIP Lyra” with a heart painted beside it.

Police have arrested two teenagers they suspect are members of the dissident republican New IRA involved in shooting the young journalist in the head.

A gunman aiming to kill police hit the 29-year-old. He fired indiscriminately during disturbances in the Creggan estate.

Bishop Donal McKeown told BBC Radio Ulster’s Sunday Sequence programme: “The one liberation they require in that community is liberation from Saoradh.”

Saoradh, translating to liberation in Irish, is a grouping which has the support of the dissident republican group the New IRA.

Journalist Lyra McKee was the victim of a fatal shooting in Derry late at night on Easter Thursday
Journalist Lyra McKee was the victim of a fatal shooting in Derry late at night on Easter Thursday

Bishop McKeown added: “We don’t want to be laboured with a reputation that comes from a small group that represents a small number of people but is actually a danger to all of us.”

Floral tributes have been piling up at the lamppost where Miss McKee fell, including one written to “beautiful Lyra” from her partner Sara Canning.

A close friend said her death leaves a void which will never be filled, but she hopes it will bring an end to gun violence in the city and meet the expectations of the victim’s peace process generation.

A new breed of terrorist is coming through the ranks in Northern Ireland, the detective leading the hunt for her killers has said.

Flowers and a candle are left at the exact spot where 29-year-old journalist Lyra McKee was shot dead in Derry, Northern Ireland April 20, 2019. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne
Flowers and a candle are left at the exact spot where 29-year-old journalist Lyra McKee was shot dead in Derry, Northern Ireland April 20, 2019. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

PSNI Detective Superintendent Jason Murphy said terrorists are lurking in the shadows, frightening and holding to ransom those they claim to represent.

He said there has been a sea-change in community attitudes towards the gunmen.

The New IRA is an amalgam of armed groups opposed to the peace process and it recently claimed responsibility for parcel bombs sent to London and Glasgow in March.

Mr Murphy conceded there remains fear of reprisals from the shadowy gunmen for giving information to police.

Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley was among those signing a book of condolence opened at the city’s Guildhall, describing her death as a “tragic loss” of one with such potential.

Police believe the violence was orchestrated in response to an earlier search by officers aimed at averting imminent trouble associated with this week’s anniversary of the Easter Rising.

Around 50 petrol bombs were thrown in the confrontation and two cars were burned out.

Former US president Bill Clinton, whose administration played an integral peace process role, and the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier are among those to condemn the violence.

Press Association

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