NUJ holding vigils across Ireland and Britain in memory of Lyra McKee
The General Secretary of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) Michelle Stanistreet will represent the union at the funeral of Lyra McKee at St. Anne's Cathedral in Belfast this afternoon.
Politicians from all sides of the sectarian divide and both sides of the border will be paying their respects at the funeral service held by Dean of St Anne's, Stephen Forde, and Catholic priest Martin Magill; NUJ members will form a guard of honour
The union held a vigil in her honour in Dublin with music from the Dublin Gay and Lesbian choir, Gloria, the previous evening.
Messages of sympathy have flooded into the union, including from API: "The Association de la Presse Internationale extends to the partner and family of Lyra McKee and to all Irish journalists their deepest sympathies and condolences on the murder of one of the bravest and most original new voices of Irish journalism.
"Her pointless death as she did her work strikes a blow at press freedom and at the North of Ireland’s precious peace process. She was a sister, lost to all of us.
"Speaking for European fellow journalists we can only echo the words of a dear friend of hers: ‘Let no one dare say that she died in the cause of Irish freedom. Lyra was Irish freedom.’"
Seamus Dooley, NUJ Irish Secretary, said: “The murder of Lyra McKee in Derry, Northern Ireland, on Thursday night has cast a long shadow. Although she was only 29, McKee was a widely respected journalist who had just signed a two-book deal with acclaimed publisher Faber & Faber.
"She was also a passionate campaigner for LGBT rights in Northern Ireland, penning a 2014 letter to her teenage self about being gay that went viral and was the basis of a short film.”
The union is encouraging every NUJ member to take part in a symbolic action at 1 p.m. today in Lyra’s memory. Whether you are in a newsroom, at lunch or working alone please take a stand for journalism and encourage those around you to join in a simple gesture of solidarity.
However you choose to mark Lyra’s life, please share with NUJ colleagues by tweeting a picture using the hashtag #WeStandWithLyra and post to the NUJ Facebook page. Download the poster and tweet your condolences.
As well as the vigil in Guildhall Square at 1 p.m. there will also be events in other cities across Ireland and Britain.To coincide with Lyra’s funeral NUJ members have organised a vigil in Glasgow for 1 p.m. on Wednesday, at Buchanan Street Steps, Glasgow.There will be a vigil in London at St. Bride’s Church on Fleet Street at 1 p.m. The church has been dedicated as a place of vigil for the whole day. NUJ members can also gather outside Headland House at a vigil organised by The Bureau of Investigative Journalism.Books of condolences will also be available at the receptions in Headland House, the NUJ’s London headquarters,72 Acton Street, London WC1X 9NB and also in the Dublin office, Spencer House, 2nd Floor, Spencer Row,Dublin 1 .
The NUJ has been supporting friends of Lyra who set up a GoFundMe account, as a practical act of solidarity to cover funeral expenses and to establish a legacy to mark Lyra’s contribution to journalism, you can donate to the fund online.