Belfast Telegraph

Lyra McKee 'strived to help out the forgotten in society'

Dermot Devlin
Dermot Devlin
Alan McBride
Brett Campbell

By Brett Campbell

A disability rights activist and a victims campaigner who both share Lyra McKee's passion for equality have paid tribute to the murdered journalist.

Dermot Devlin, who campaigns for tougher action against cyber-bullies, spoke of his grief following the death of his friend.

"I am still wiping away the tears and begging for it not to be true," the blogger wrote.

Mr Devlin recalled how the pair "just clicked" after being introduced by a mutual friend.

"We were both geeky nerds and we shared many stories about what we watched and read," he added.

"But what really connected us was our shared need for social equality and thrive to find what we as people have in common and not what separates us."

Mr Devlin recalled many chats with Lyra who he said passionately believed that disabled people and those in the LGBT community shared "a lot of the same pain" in their fight for acceptance.

Victims campaigner Alan McBride also paid tribute as he expressed his hope that the emergence of a peaceful and tolerant society would become her legacy.

Mr McBride said he felt compelled to write about the "brutal slaying of the brilliant journalist". He said he was "immediately captivated by how smart she was and by her passion for the things she believed in" such as equality and human rights.

"I hope that Lyra's death becomes a defining moment in the continual search for peace here," he added.

"Everything about her, love of life, kindness, gentleness and love, stand out in stark contrast to those that so brutally and cowardly took her young life."

Mr McBride expressed sadness that the two people to be questioned by police are teenagers and therefore children of the ceasefires.

His wife Sharon and father-in-law Desmond Frizzell were killed in the 1993 Shankill bombing.

He added: "I was reminded that those who murdered my wife were also teenagers, and my wife was only 29, same age as Lyra. The thought that these things are still happening would indicate we as a society haven't heeded warnings from history."

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