Irish PEN are deeply shocked at the senseless killing of a beacon in the Irish writing world, 29-year-old journalist Lyra McKee, who was shot and killed while covering rioting in Derry.
The Irish Times have published a beautiful tribute to her from her fellow writers, ‘Lyra McKee: a fearless seeker of truth’ and we join them in our heartfelt sense of loss and devastation. Read the article here.
Irish writer Sinead Gleeson puts the thoughts of all Irish writers clearly in her personal and heartfelt contribution to the Irish Times article:
Public Lyra was a brilliant journalist and advocate; someone who spoke up for others, and fearlessly probed at uncomfortable subjects. The Lyra I got to know was upbeat and kind; a devoted carer to her mother; a cat lover.
Her death is utterly senseless. A shocking waste. To wake up to the news of such violence on Good Friday of all days (no political or religious symbolism needs to be invoked, we know what this means). Lyra, at 29, was a blazing comet; fearless and full of integrity – and mischief, it has to be said.
I, like so many, am heartbroken for her partner, family and friends, and for all the challenging and brilliant work we will never get to see. Thank you, Lyra McKee. We will miss you.
PEN International, whose role is to defend with freedoms of writers around the world, in association with PEN centres said, ‘McKee was a young, passionate and courageous journalist, who was a ‘tireless advocate and activist’ for the LGBTI community. Responding to the news, Salil Tripathi, chair of PEN International’s Writers in Prison Committee, said:
‘Lyra McKee was a brave, courageous young woman in every sense. She took on sectarian violence by observing and reporting it, tragically falling victim to a bullet last night. She confronted religious orthodoxy on sexuality and equality, and believed in life, celebrating and affirming it. She had immersed herself in stories from Northern Ireland and had been rightly acclaimed as a person to watch. So much lay ahead of her, and so profound is our loss in her murder. I grieve her passing.’
Lyra McKee’s funeral will take place on Wednesday 24th April 2019 in Belfast at 1pm. Her friends and colleagues ask for journalists to take a minute at that time to remember Lyra and her publisher, Faber & Faber tweeted,
This Wednesday join us in remembering the exceptional Lyra McKee by wearing something Harry Potter or Marvel-themed to celebrate her life. Lyra’s funeral will take place at 1pm in St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast. Please share and retweet.
Irish PEN joins with the world’s community of writers and journalists in condemning the senseless murder of Lyra McKee, a courageous and tireless searcher of the truth and a champion of human rights. Our thoughts are with Lyra’s family and friends at this time.