Northern Ireland news

Call to light up buildings in rainbow colours to remember Lyra McKee

Lyra McKee (29) was shot dead by the New IRA in April 2019.
Seamus McKinney

COUNCILS across Northern Ireland have been asked to illuminate their buildings in the rainbow colours to mark the anniversary of the 2019 murder of Lyra McKee.

Ms McKee (29) was shot dead by a New IRA gunman as she observed a riot in Derry's Creggan on April 18 2019. The Belfast writer and activist was struck when the gunman opened fire on police lines.

The call to “celebrate” Ms McKee's life by lighting buildings in the rainbow colours was made by SDLP mayor of Derry and Strabane Brian Tierney.

Mr Tierney told a meeting of Derry and Strabane council that he was contacted by Ms McKee's partner, Sara Canning to discuss ways that the victim's “brightness of spirit” could be celebrated.

Mr Tierney said: “Lyra was a tremendously positive person who had so much still to offer the world and it is important that their spirit lives on in both our memories and deeds. I want to call on other local councils to join with us in celebrating Lyra and the values that drove to pursue truth, to change opinions and use her voice to create a better society.”

The Derry councillor said the city's Guildhall and other key council buildings would be illuminated in the rainbow colours from Monday April 12 until Sunday April 18.

Ms Canning said that her family and friends had been unable to mark the first anniversary of her death last year in any “significant” way.

“With what we have learned over the past 12 months, we felt that a positive and safe way to remember Lyra and her beautiful spirit would be to light our civic buildings in the rainbow colours,” she said.

Ms Canning hoped the people of Derry and Strabane would join Ms McKee's family and friends in remembering all she had achieved in her short life.

“Lyra was someone who embodied the best of this place; she didn't care about colour or creed. She just wanted a better future for all of us. Her friends spanned all countries, all political affiliations and she bridged divides by bringing unlikely allies together,” she said.

The Derry woman said her partner was very positive and it was appropriate that the be remembered with the same spirit.

“I would ask that all local councils light up their civic spaces with rainbow colours on April 18 to remember someone who was a voice for positive change in this country,” she said.

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