DUBLIN (Reuters) – A year after moving to Londonderry, celebrated young Northern Ireland journalist Lyra McKee wrote about how she looked forward to “better times ahead and saying goodbye to bombs and bullets once and for all”.
Journalist Lyra McKee poses for a portrait outside the Sunflower Pub on Union Street in Belfast, Northern Ireland May 19, 2017. Jess Lowe Photography/Handout via REUTERS
On Thursday night – just three months later – the 29-year-old McKees final Twitter post showed a police vehicle being pelted by petrol bombs with the caption: “Derry tonight. Absolute madness.”
She was killed shortly afterwards, shot dead by an Irish Catholic nationalist gunman firing towards police during a riot that underscored the challenges still faced by Northern Ireland, a British province, 21 years after the Good Friday Agreement largely ended decades of deadly sectarian bloodshed.
Born in Belfast just a few years before the 1998 accord was struck to end the kind of violence that took her life, McKee was remembered in an outpouring of tributes as an intelligent, talented writer who brought a human touch to difficult subjects.
“She was an inspiring thinker and journalist,” Irish Deputy Prime Minister Simon Coveney wrote on Twitter.
He linked his post to video of a TED talk McKee gave in 2017 encouraging churchgoers and fellow lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender young people to talk to one another to try and change religious teaching on the subject.
In her tweet in January, she described Londonderry as a beautiful city she had fallen in love with while “falling in love with a woman who hails from it”.
McKee wrote and spoke openly about the struggles of growing up gay in a hostile environment. A 2014 blog post – “A Letter To My 14-Year-Old Self” – received much acclaim and was subsequently turned into a short film.
By that stage McKee had already been named Sky News Young Journalist of the Year – an award she won in 2006 – and was named as one of the “30 under 30 in media” by Forbes Magazine ten years later.
She wrote for publications both in Northern Ireland and aboard, including the Independent newspaper, the Atlantic and BuzzFeed News.
A “Good Friday baby”, McKee was a journalist of courage, style and integrity, Seamus Dooley, the head of the National Union of Journalists Ireland said in a statement.
In 2018 McKee signed a two-book deal withRead More