Lyra McKee

Members' Statements – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 10:30 am on 16 April 2024.

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Photo of Gary Middleton Gary Middleton DUP 10:30, 16 April 2024

In just two days' time, 18 April will mark five years since the senseless, brutal and tragic murder of Lyra McKee in the Creggan area of Londonderry. That evening was one of utter turmoil. Many of us watched on with horror at the violence in the Creggan as rioting and scenes of destruction unfolded. Lyra, innocently watching those horrific scenes of utter recklessness alongside her neighbours and friends — she was described by her sister, Nichola, as one of the kindest, most beautiful souls ever to grace the world — was shot dead by a terrorist, so close to her family, her friends and her place of love and safety.

Those responsible for the violence on the evening on which Lyra was murdered and on many violent nights since do not speak for the wider community and the city that I am proud to represent. Only a few days after Lyra's murder, many people gathered at the Guildhall to join civic, religious and political leaders in condemnation. The then First Minister, Dame Arlene Foster, alongside Gregory Campbell MP and me, joined many in the Creggan standing in solidarity with people from all walks of life and backgrounds demanding peace and justice.

Sadly, although the police know the identity of the murderer, he continues to walk on the streets and remains free, not facing justice and protected by the anonymity that comes with a lack of charges being brought against him. Lyra's family and the community at large are unable to properly grieve or have any sense of justice, as they do not know who this person is. That is simply not good enough.

Members, it is imperative that we do not let Lyra's name be forgotten, five years on, on Thursday 18 April. As an Assembly, we must unite in our stance against terrorist activity, condemning the actions of illegal terrorist groups, masked gunmen and those who continue to choose to wreak havoc and destruction on communities and upset the peace that exists in them. Today, we as an Assembly remember Lyra with the hope that, one day soon, the terrorists involved in her murder will feel the full weight of justice.