Chris Hughes: Like Omagh, the murder of Lyra McKee will rebound on perpetrators

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The murder of Lyra McKee is a pivotal moment for Northern Ireland.

The New IRA is a dissident group desperate for recognition, but it is far less well-armed, supported, organised or disciplined than the IRA was.

Strategically, this callous act of terrorism will likely backfire.

There has been immediate condemnation of the shooting from all sides.

It appears to have been aimed at the police officers standing nearby — an act of desperation as they moved in to stop a planned terror attack.

Shooting at the police was serious enough, but killing a journalist will see any support the group may have had quickly haemorrhage away.

A hijacked car explodes in Creggan, Londonderry during unrest on April 18

 

Dissident republican violence has been escalating for some time in Northern Ireland, with a car bombing, car jackings and the spate of non-deadly letter-bombs that were sent around Britain.

But last night’s atrocity will bring back memories of the 29 innocent people killed by the 1998 Omagh bomb.

That device was planted by the Real IRA, another splinter group opposed to the peace process.

So many civilian deaths sparked national and international outrage and dealt a huge blow to the republican movement.

The dissidents who planted it wanted to encourage a violent uprising.

But it had the opposite effect — it spurred on the peace process to success.

Lyra is circled in the crowd moments before she was fatally gunned down

 

Brave, kind, funny, Lyra was a real talent

By Shauna Corr, Reporter for the Irish Mirror

I’ll bet anyone who has ever spent time with Lyra McKee walked away feeling their life was all the better for it.

I first met the brave, kind and funny North Belfast woman as a budding reporter on the NCTJ course at Belfast Met, seven short years ago.

This tiny, tenacious and self-deprecating charmer had the class eating out of her hands with her unwavering view of what journalism is.

I was blown away by her unbending focus and passion for the job and that hasn’t changed as the years passed.

Here was a woman who didn’t curry favour with those in positions of power.

She was a champion for the downtrodden and would do anything to help anyone.

Mary Lou McDonald, leader of Sinn Fein, at a rally in Londonderry following Lyra's murder
Mary Lou McDonald, Leader of Sinn Fein holds up a rainbow flag as she speaks at a rally for journalist and author Lyra McKee near the scene of her shooting

The thing that really hits home, is just how much we all lost when her bright light was snuffed out by this cruel act.

She was finally reaping the rewards of all her hard work with book deals and and even plans for a Netflix series.

But when she took her final breath at just 29, her future and everything she offered the world was stolen from us.

None of us will feel the void, however, like her mum, partner and family, whom she loved fiercely. I just hope it wasn’t all in vain.

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