The following is a statement by the Bishop of Derry and Raphoe, the Rt Revd Ken Good, following the murder of journalist Lyra McKee:
“I am outraged at last night’s murder of the 29-year-old journalist, Lyra McKee, in Derry-Londonderry. My first thoughts, today, are with her partner, her family and friends. I sympathise with them in their heart-breaking loss and assure them that their pain is being felt right across our community.
“Sadly, though, Lyra’s death, while needless, was not entirely unforeseeable.
“Only last January, after the bomb attack on the city’s courthouse, I said that the perpetrators had shown a callous disregard for people’s lives. On that occasion a group of young people were lucky to escape unscathed.
“Sadly, the outcome that I feared then – if such reckless attacks were to continue – was realised last night, and Lyra McKee, a talented young journalist, paid the ultimate price.
“The people responsible for her murder – the individual who pulled the trigger and the leaders who sanctioned the attack – have this young woman’s blood on their hands. They claim to be liberators of the community. In reality, they are its oppressors.
“Three months ago, I suggested there were only two possible explanations for the recklessness of the Bishop Street bombers. They either didn’t think about the potential consequences or they didn’t care. The same is true of those behind last night’s murderous attack. It beggars belief that anyone would open fire in a built-up area like Creggan, at a time when there were many people on the streets. We are fortunate that more people weren’t killed or injured.
“Today, on Good Friday, Christians remember the bleakness of Christ’s death on the cross but we look forward to the hope that Easter will bring. Today, this city – and our community – are numbed and horrified by what happened in our midst last night; we stand poised between bleakness and hope. The time has come to choose.
“I urge the people of this city to go forward with hope. I urge them to turn their backs on the men of violence, and to reject those who advocate bombing and shooting as solutions to our problems.
“I urge the individual and organisation behind last night’s attack to realise the futility of what they are doing and to end their violence. Their behaviour is in stark contrast to that of the police officers who did their utmost to save Lyra’s life last night.
“Lastly, I encourage the community to assist the PSNI with their investigation into this horrendous murder and to support the Police.” [Diocese of Derry and Raphoe Press Office]