Opinion

Tuesday 20 August 2019

Ian O'Doherty: 'Let Lyra McKee's funeral be the last of its kind in Northern Ireland'

Heartbroken: Lyra McKee's partner Sara Canning (left), reacts as pallbearers carry the coffin of the journalist. Photo: PAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
Heartbroken: Lyra McKee's partner Sara Canning (left), reacts as pallbearers carry the coffin of the journalist. Photo: PAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images

The funeral was, as are all funerals of young people, heartbreaking.

When mourners turned up Lyra McKee's funeral on Wednesday, it was as if we had all just been sucked into a vortex and brought back 30 years in time and space to the days when such ceremonies were all too regular.

The sight of senior politicians, and Mary Lou McDonald, among the gathering was a hard one to swallow. Yet there may actually be a sliver of hope from their presence.

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Politicians are normally fairly unshockable people, because most of them are cynical to the bone. But her murder shocked Northern Ireland, the Republic and the UK.

For once we could give them a pass and accept that they were simply there to pay their respects as normal human beings, but the spotlight isn't on them - it's on the very abnormal human begins who seemed to think that a mumbled apology about the "tragic accident" is enough to wash their sins away.

That nonsense may have played with a certain constituency back during the height of the Troubles, but only a small rump of malcontents and losers-in-life have any patience for such mendacious weasel words.

If there was to be a renewal of terrorism in the Six Counties, maybe her death will put a stop to it.

After all, even former terrorists were horrified at the barbarous act and while 150 idiots felt it appropriate to gather outside the GPO this day last week, the scorn heaped on them by the general public was a reassuring reminder that the appetite for such psychopathic simpletons isn't just dormant, it has simply disappeared.

By coming out in the open, rather than skulking in the shadows where they normally dwell, they inadvertently put a face to the evil we witnessed in the North last week.

They obviously misjudged the levels of genuine and heartfelt disgust at the murder of a woman who symbolised a brighter Northern Ireland than they could ever offer.

That may, just may, stop the thugs in their tracks. Sadly, that's probably a foolish hope because these are people who need violence to define them, and who are too stupid and historically illiterate to see that people like McKee and her friends have simply moved on and are far beyond them, in both moral and intellectual terms.

Maybe the cops should have stopped the event, but it gave gardaí plenty of intelligence - and that's not a word you'd normally associate with these thugs.

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