On 18 April, Lyra McKee was fatally shot during rioting in the Creggan area of Derry. McKee was a journalist from Northern Ireland who frequently wrote about The Troubles. McKee had attended the scene to research the dangers of frontline journalism and was due to speak at an Amnesty International event the following month about reporting on the conflict.
The 29-year-old journalist was well known for her 2014 publication ‘Letter to my 14-year-old self’ where she described the challenges of growing up gay in Belfast and was turned into a critically acclaimed short film. McKee’s notable articles about The Troubles included ‘Suicide of the Ceasefire Babies’, which detailed teenage suicides linked to the conflict.
McKee was shot while observing rioting in the Creggan area of Derry, Northern Ireland. Ahead of the Easter Rising commemorative parades, violence broke out after police raids on people they believed to be carrying weapons. People threw petrol bombs and burnt two vehicles, and police said that a gunman then fired up to twelve shots at police officers. McKee, who was standing next to a police vehicle, was wounded in the head and later died in hospital.
McKee’s funeral took place at St Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast. It was attended by Theresa May, Irish President Michael D Higgins, DUP leader Arlene Foster, Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald, and Jeremy Corbyn, among many others. Members of the National Union of Journalists formed a guard of honour.
McKee’s death was condemned by many religious leaders and politicians, and her death was described as ‘an attack on all the people of this community, an attack on the peace and democratic processes.’
On 23 April, The Irish News published an article claiming that the ‘New IRA’ had admitted responsibility for the killing, although they stated that McKee wasn’t the intended target and offered their apologies to her family and partner.
McKee’s forthcoming book, The Lost Boys, focuses on young children that were abducted from the streets and murdered, while their killers have never been caught.
A reward of up to £10,000 has been offered for information on McKee’s killer.