The friends of journalist, Lyra McKee, murdered in a terrorist attack want her death to lead to change in Northern Ireland. The call comes as a mural of her was unveiled in Belfast.
A member of the New IRA shot McKee dead in Londonderry on Good Friday Eve during a riot where they had targeted police and also thrown petrol bombs at them. Police arrested a 57-year-old woman under the terrorism act over McKee’s murder.
McKee, 29, has been celebrated as an extraordinary journalist who Forbes named on its 30 under 30 in media list in 2016.
Her death brought a rare sign of unity between opposing factions in Northern Ireland.
But now activists and those who loved her want the unity to remain permanent.
Trans consultant, Ellen Murray, penned an emotional letter in McKee’s honor.
‘Much has been said about what Lyra’s death means,’ Murray wrote.
‘As a catalyst for societal change in Northern Ireland to move us further on the journey to peace, or perhaps as a painful reminder of the dangers of rolling backwards, of political vacuum, and of hopelessness.’
‘As leaders of this wretched, beautiful place, I beg of you to work to better our society as Lyra so tirelessly did.
‘I beg of you to look each other in the eye and consider what you can move forward on together. I beg of you to let down your guard a little.’
Murals and handprints
Murray’s calls come as a mural of McKee is unveiled in Belfast.
Emma Blake painted the mural alongside 21 other artists and covers much of Kent St. The mural went up as part of the Hit the North street art festival.
The mural features quotes from a heartwarming letter McKee wrote to her 14-year-old self a few years ago.
‘Kid, it’s going to be ok,’ she wrote.
‘It won’t always be like this. It’s going to get better.’
The mural is not the only artistic tribute to McKee. People have painted over IRA murals in Derry, while others put red hand prints on significant landmarks around Derry.
— Amanda O’Connell (@amandao_scot) May 7, 2019