Northern Ireland news

Former US president Bill Clinton condemns Lyra McKee's murder

Former US president, Bill Clinton has condemned Lyra McKee's murder. Photograph by Niall Carson/PA Wire.
Seamus McKinney

Former US president Bill Clinton has joined the condemnation of the murder in Derry of journalist Lyra McKee.

As the impact of Ms McKee’s murder, believed to be by the New IRA last Thursday night, continued to reverberate around the world, Mr Clinton said he was heartbroken by her death.

The former president developed a close affinity with Derry after he first visited the city at the invitation of Nobel Laureate John Hume in 1995. Mr Clinton has returned to Derry a number of times since the end of his presidency, including for the funeral of former deputy first minister, the late Martin McGuinness two years ago.

The former president said: “The challenges in NI today are real – but we cannot let go of the last 21 years of hard-won peace and progress. This tragedy is a reminder of how much everyone has to lose if we do.”

Journalist Lyra McKee who was shot and killed during a riot in Derry

Archbishop of Armagh Eamon Martin also prayed for Ms McKee (19) at the Easter Vigil Mass on Saturday night and at Masses on Easter Sunday.

In his homily Archbishop Martin, the leader of the Catholic church in Ireland, said everyone was called on to be “reconcilers and peacemakers, willing to help heal the wounds of the past in our families, society and Church.”

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Archbishop Martin said: “I have been praying for the loved ones and colleagues of the talented young journalist, Lyra McKee, whose life was so cruelly and pointlessly ended by violence in my home city of Derry. May Lyra rest in peace.”

As the fall-out continued, a message was also sent to Mr McKee’s killers from the people of Creggan where she died. Graffiti which previously praised the New IRA and dissident republicans was changed, brandishing them “Defeated Army 2019” with the words “Finished Revolution”.

A message of condolence for 29-year-old journalist Lyra McKee which has been painted on Free Derry Corner. Picture by Joe Boland, Press Association

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Tributes have also been left at the spot in Creggan where Ms McKee was shot and fatally wounded. Throughout the weekend, growing numbers visited the scene, leaving flowers around a lamppost close to where she fell.

In a particularly poignant moment, Ms McKee’s partner, Sara Canning, left a bouquet of flowers with the message: “My beautiful Lyra, our time together was too short and your life was snuffed out too soon. I love you forever, your Sara XX”.

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