Journalist Lyra McKee's murder in Derry 'an attack on peace and democracy'
LEADERS of the main political parties have released a joint statement following the shooting dead of journalist Lyra McKee in Derry.
In it the party leaders say the 29-year-old's murder was "an attack on the peace and democratic processes".
“We want to express our condemnation in the strongest terms possible at the murder of journalist Lyra McKee.
"The murder of Lyra McKee is first and foremost a devastating loss for her grieving partner, family and friends, and our thoughts are with them at this awful time.
"Lyra’s murder was also an attack on all the people of this community, an attack on the peace and democratic processes.
"It was a pointless and futile act to destroy the progress made over the last 20 years, which has the overwhelming support of people everywhere."
Police have blamed dissident republicans for the fatal shooting in the Creggan during rioting last night. ACC Mark Hamilton said this morning that police believe the attack was carried out by "violent dissident republicans", adding: "Our assessment at this time would be that the New IRA is the most likely to be behind this and that forms our primary line of inquiry."
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The senior politicians said those responsible must be brought to justice.
"We are united in rejecting those responsible for this heinous crime.
"They have no support in the community, must be brought to justice and should disband immediately.
"We reiterate our support for the PSNI, who while carrying out their duties were also the target of last night’s attack. We call on anyone with any information to bring that forward to the police and assist their inquiries.
"This is a time for calm heads.”
The statement comes from Michelle O'Neill (Sinn Féin), Arlene Foster (DUP), Robin Swann (UUP), Colum Eastwood (SDLP), Naomi Long (Alliance) and Clare Bailey (Green Party).
Vigils are taking place today in Derry, Belfast and Derry in memory of Ms McKee who was originally from Belfast but had moved to Derry to live with her partner.