Northern Ireland: Murder of Lyra Mckee

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:55 pm on 23rd April 2019.

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Photo of Karen Bradley Karen Bradley The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland 6:55 pm, 23rd April 2019

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his comments and agree with much of what he said. He sums up eloquently, in a way that is typical of him; he is a very eloquent speaker at the Dispatch Box, and that was a particularly poignant and moving contribution. He is right to say that the whole House shares in the condemnation of the acts that took place. His comment about the brightness of life of Lyra was very moving. She did represent Londonderry. She represented Northern Ireland, and she represented its future. As I mentioned in my statement, I was with the mayor of Derry and Strabane on Saturday, and he knew Lyra personally and had taught her; Councillor John Boyle said that Lyra was one of those people who wanted her name in lights—just not in the way that her name was in lights over the weekend, and that is the tragedy.

I agree with the hon. Gentleman that there is definitely a sense on the ground that this is the end and people do not want to see this happen again. Those communities, which have been oppressed by the terrorists and the dissidents, and made to live in a way they do not want to live in those estates—they do not want to be part of that—are standing up and saying, “No, not in my name.” He is right about that. None of us can escape the symbolism of this. It was Good Friday and a woman, a journalist, an innocent was shot dead by terrorists. None of us can escape that. None of us can miss that. I also agree with him about the symbolism of the political leaders joining together on Friday in Creggan and being together. Great leadership was shown by all those political leaders; it was leadership that the people of Northern Ireland want to see, and I commend them all for what they did. We will need to talk about many things in the coming days, and I am happy to work with him on those, but at the moment, with Lyra’s funeral tomorrow, it is best that we reflect on the brilliance of the light that she shone and the future that she had that we will never see.