Belfast Telegraph

Lyra McKee funeral: Primate urges politicians to embark on 'courageous' steps to restore Stormont power-sharing

Hundreds of people gathered at Guild Hall Square in Londonderry yesterday in memory of murdered journalist Lyra McKee
Hundreds of people gathered at Guild Hall Square in Londonderry yesterday in memory of murdered journalist Lyra McKee
Solemn faces show their respects
Solemn faces show their respects
Journalists and delegates pay tribute to Lyra McKee at the Teacher’s Union of Ireland Annual Congress in Killarney yesterday
A man shows his emotion
Donna Deeney

By Donna Deeney

The leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland has called for the return of Stormont in the wake of the murder of Lyra McKee.

Archbishop Eamon Martin was among several hundred people who gathered at Guildhall Square in Londonderry in memory of the journalist, who was shot dead while observing a riot in the Creggan area of the city last Thursday night.

The crowd held a minute's silence as the clock struck one to coincide with the start of Ms McKee's funeral service in Belfast.

Archbishop Martin said the vacuum created by a lack of government was being filled with hatred.

"In my view there has definitely been a vacuum in recent months," he said.

"In fact, if you go back it is over two years since we have had a meaningful Assembly or government.

"If you create a gap like that, people are going to move in and fill it with their own hatred, with their own violence.

"Sometimes we hear people say they will sit down after the council elections or after Brexit.

"I think the message is they do have permission to take some courageous and some compromising steps because it is easy for any of us to go into a corner and say: 'This is our position'.

"We do need leadership now and we do need compromise.

Lyra’s partner Sara Canning
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"I say that gently. I do not say that in any critical way because I understand it is not easy to bring people along.

"But sometimes being a leader means you have to go out in front and lead and bring the people with you.

"I think the people of Derry and people all over this island are saying: 'You (politicians) have our support to sit down now'. And if that is an outcome of Lyra's death, then maybe something good will come of this whole situation."

Archbishop Martin said the people of Derry had said the murder was not in their name and that they wanted to give peace a chance.

He added: "This really pointless and needless death of a brave and courageous young journalist going about her business has really made all of us stop in our tracks."

He also stressed that the people of Derry had known "too much sadness, too much trauma and instinctively they have reacted".

"To see those images going around the world of burning vehicles, of fire, of violence and rioting... I think we have also had a very positive message coming from our city in recent days of 'Not in our name' and 'Let's get back to working for peace and reconciliation'," he added.

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