Lyra McKee was a staunch 'defender of equality and human rights', says Unison
Unison Regional Secretary Patricia McKeown has described Lyra McKee, who was shot dead in Derry last night, as a staunch 'defender of equality and human rights'.
Ms. McKeown said the 29-year-old was a friend of the union.
"Lyra was a regular and welcome face at our equality events, marches and demonstrations and she will be sorely missed. We extend our deepest condolences to her family.
"Lyra is not just another dead journalist - another worker, murdered at work. She was a child when the peace accord was signed. She was from the generation that we all hoped would enjoy a better future.
"Lyra took her own peace building responsibilities very seriously. She gave voice to victims and relatives of the conflict and survivors of institutional abuse in their search for truth and justice," said the trade union chief.
Mr. McKeown has a strong message for the violent republican group that killed her.
"Those who killed her are enemies of peace. There is no place in any part of our deeply divided society for those who use guns and knives and bombs to intimidate. They keep us divided.
"They interfere with the search for truth and justice. They damage our younger generation. There is an obligation on all of us to confront them and to speak out. Lyra had the guts to do it – so must we all," she said.