Rainbow Project director John O'Doherty pays tribute to friend and fellow LGBT advocate Lyra McKee
The director of The Rainbow Project John O'Doherty, has said the murder of journalist and fellow advocate for gay people Lyra McKee was a remarkable individual and will be hugely missed.
"We are devastated at the loss of our friend Lyra McKee. Lyra was a remarkable person, a professional and committed journalist and a hero to many in the LGBT community," said Mr. O'Doherty after the 29-year-old was shot dead by a republican gunman during rioting in Creggan on Thursday night.
"This morning we have been reading about the huge impact Lyra had on so many within Northern Ireland's LGBT community including supporting people in coming out and using her own coming out story to empower others to live as their most authentic selves.
"Lyra has always been a supporter of The Rainbow Project having volunteered and fundraised for us including at a Strictly Come Dancing fundraising event.
"Lyra described herself as someone with two left feet – but like everything she did in her life she gave it everything she had and our lasting memory will be of a smiling and dancing Lyra," he added.
Mr. O'Doherty said the LGBT community across the North had been robbed of both a friend and a powerful advocate.
"To lose someone like Lyra at any age is a difficult thing to accept, but to lose her at 29 in such despicable and avoidable circumstances is devastating.
"Our thoughts today are with Lyra’s family, partner, friends and everyone across Northern Ireland society who will be feeling this loss today.
"Violence to achieve political aims can never be justified and we hope that the perpetrator is brought swiftly to justice," he said.