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Lyra's family: 'A warm and innocent heart, she was the greatest listener, someone who had time for everyone'

Lyra was murdered early on Friday morning in the Creggan in Derry following a night of fierce riots.

THE FAMILY OF Lyra McKee have released a statement this evening, honouring her “gentle innocent soul” and asking people follow her personal philosophy to combat hate with “love understanding and kindness”. 

The statement – carried by Sky News – pays tribute to Lyra, and asks people to respect the privacy of the family.

Lyra was murdered early on Friday morning in the Creggan in Derry following a night of fierce riots. She was part of a crowd of onlookers that was shot into by people taking part in the violence. 

The 29-year-old was a journalist who had recently relocated to Derry from Belfast to live with her partner. Her killing has been condemned and has sparked an outpouring of support and sympathy from all across the world.

In the statement her family said:

“On Thursday 18 April our beautiful Lyra was taken from us. A daughter, a sister, an aunt, a great-aunt, a partner, a niece, a cousin, and above all, a best friend and confidante to so many of us

Her family called Lyra a “gentle innocent soul who wouldn’t wish ill on anyone”.

“Such a warm and innocent heart, she was the greatest listener, someone who had time for everyone. she was a smart, strong-minded woman who believed passionately in inclusivity, justice and truth. 

Lyra spoke to and made friends with anybody and everybody, no matter what their background, those of all political views and those with none. This openness, and her desire to bring people together, made her totally apolitical. 

Outpouring of support 

Lyra’s family thanked everyone for “the outpouring of support and love we have witnessed this past few days”.

“It has been of immense solace that Lyra meant so much to so many. We ask everyone who knew Lyra meant so much to so many. We ask everyone who knew Lyra to continue her message of positivity and hope, by respecting her memory with dignity and respect.

We as a family know that the whole community has been touched by the events of Thursday night and that many are rightly angry. However, we would ask that Lyra’s life and her personal philosophy are used as an example to us all as we face this tragedy together.  

“Lyra’s answer would have been simple, the only way to overcome hatred and intolerance is with love, understanding.”

Privacy 

The family closed their statement by asking for privacy for the time being. 

“We are a private family and would ask as a family that out privacy is respected at this impossibly difficult time,” they said. 

“We will, in time, speak to you all, but need space and time in the coming days and weeks to deal with the trauma of Lyra’s sudden tragic death.

Until that time, we would request that all media contact could be made via our legal representatives. 

A Church of Ireland spokesperson has said that a public service of thanksgiving for her life will take place at St Anne’s Cathedral on Donegall Street in Belfast at 1pm tomorrow.

However, funeral arrangements at her family home and in the cemetery will be strictly private.

Lyra’s friends and loved ones have requested that those who attend wear Harry Potter, Hufflepuff or Marvel-related t-shirts to honour her. 

Vigil 

A was held in Dublin city in memory of Lyra.

The vigil was arranged by the National Union of Journalists and was held in Parnell Square in Dublin City Centre this evening.

At the vigil today, some of Lyra’s pieces were read out, with some music and singing in between. 

NUJ assistant general secretary Seamus Dooley led the vigil, and paid tribute to McKee and her work.

The vigil ended with a rousing round of applause.    

 With reporting from Nicky Ryan

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Cormac Fitzgerald

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