‘We will say goodbye to the bomb and bullet’

Giving voice to the atmosphere at the public vigil at Fanad Drive on Friday afternoon, George McGowan, from Old Library Trust, told those gathered that the impact of Lyra’s death on the people of Creggan and of Derry was ‘one of sadness, numbness, bewilderment, anger and frustration, as well as instilling a fear.’

“Residents, both children and adults, are traumatised as a result,” he said.

Stephen Quigley Education Authority Youth Service Area Manager.

Stephen Quigley Education Authority Youth Service Area Manager.

“The Creggan community is a very proud, resilient, courageous, peaceful community and through out the worse of the conflict have always stood together, helped each other and overcome a lot of tragedy. This will be no different.”

Stephen Quigley,area manager from the Education Authority Youth Service, said youth workers welcomed all young people into their centres and engage with them on the streets too.

“We will continue to do so without fear and intimidation from others,” he said. We would encourage all of our children and young people, in Creggan and in the city, to participate in your community, attend your local services, we want to challenge you, we want to support you and we want to inspire you to be the best that you can be.

“Our children and are young people, they deserve the opportunity to build their own future, a future, that is fair, peaceful, inclusive, safe.

George McGowan from Old Library Trust.

George McGowan from Old Library Trust.

“Derry is a city that is mourning, but to paraphrase Lyra McKee’s words: there are better times ahead and we will say goodbye to the bomb and the bullet.”

The Catholic Bishop of Derry, Dr. Donal McKeown, said he was struck by how many young people and families with children were in attendance. “I think the presence of so many political leaders signifies what a welcoming community this is, what an all-embracing, open community this is, that everyone from every political hue can come here with no fear whatever.”

Church of Ireland Bishop Ken Good, meanwhile, said that everyone was experiencing the same emotions together. He said: “I think we are resolute, we are determined, we are looking to the future with hope and this will not deflect us, in fact it will strengthen the hope that we have on this Good Friday that there is indeed an Easter Sunday.”