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Dublin: 17 °C Sunday 22 September, 2019
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Vigils take place in Dublin, Belfast, and Derry in memory of journalist Lyra McKee

Meanwhile the PSNI has released new CCTV footage in an attempt to identify the shooter.

Londonderry unrest Sara Canning, the partner of 29-year-old journalist Lyra McKee at the vigil in Derry. Source: PA Images

VIGILS HAVE TAKEN place in cities across the island of Ireland in memory of 29-year-old journalist Lyra McKee, who was shot dead during rioting in Derry last night.

Her death has been met with widespread condemnation. The leaders of the six main political parties in Northern Ireland united to release a rare joint statement, describing the incident as an “attack on all the people of this community” and called for those responsible to be brought to justice.

President Michael D Higgins described Lyra as a “woman of talent and commitment”.

Londonderry unrest Flowers have been left at the scene where Lyra was shot. Source: PA Wire/PA Images

The respected journalist was covering the disturbances – described by the PSNI as “orchestrated violence” – last night when police came under attack.

The PSNI says that a single gunman fired shots, striking Lyra. Officers administered first aid at the scene and rushed the journalist to hospital, where she died a short time later.

Lyra’s partner Sara Cunning paid powerful tribute to her at a vigil in Creggan, Derry:

Video not playing? Watch here.

The senseless murder of Lyra McKee has left a family without a beloved daughter, a sister, an aunt, and a great aunt, has left so many friends without their confident, victims in the LGBTQIA community are left without a tireless advocate and activist, and it has left me without the love of my life, the woman I was planning to grow old with.
We are all poor for the loss of Lyra. Our hopes and dreams and all of her amazing potential was snuffed out by a single barbaric act.
This cannot stand.
Lyra’s death must not be in vain because her life was a shining light in everyone else’s life, and her legacy will live on in the light that she has left behind.

The vigil was attended by Northern Ireland’s political leader. A separate event was held later outside the Guildhall in Derry. 

Londonderry unrest Sinn Féin's Mary Lou McDonald with DUP leader Arlene Foster. Source: PA Images

South of the border a small vigil was held in Dublin’s Stephen’s Green, where some of Lyra’s work was read out.

“I think we’re all shocked, stunned, saddened,” journalist and organiser of the vigil Karrie Kehoe said, “It’s such a loss, she had such a positive message.”

Another vigil was held outside city hall in Belfast.

The PSNI has intensified their efforts to track down those responsible for Lyra’s death. A senior officer, Detective Superintendent Jason Murphy, is now leading the case, and released a statement this evening calling for those with information to “do the right thing”.

CCTV footage has also been released, showing Lyra in the crowd prior to the attack.

The video then focuses on a masked figure who steps out from behind a wall. Police say this is the gunman.

Source: PoliceServiceNI/YouTube

“Lyra’s death is senseless and appalling beyond belief,” Murphy said.

“It represents the tragic loss of promise and the loss of potential, however it should not be the loss of hope. We know that the people of Creggan do not support what happened and they stand with us today in outrage and disgust at the mayhem that took place on their streets last night.

People saw the gunman and people saw those who goaded young people out onto the streets, people know who they are. The answers to what happened last night lie within the community. I am asking people to do the right thing for Lyra McKee, for her family and for the city of Derry/Londonderry and help us stop this madness.

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About the author:

Nicky Ryan

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