Video: Richard Moore tells Lyra McKee peace rally politicians need to 'compromise' in spirit of Good Friday Agreement
Richard Moore urged politicians to revive the spirit of the Good Friday Agreement (GFA) and ‘compromise’ at a rally in memory of Lyra McKee in Derry yesterday.
The ‘Children in Crossfire’ founder called for a renewal of the concilitary spirit that yielded the peace accord in 1998.
Mr. Moore, who was just 10 when he was shot in the face by a British soldier while walking home from school on Creggan Road on May 4, 1972, made the call after taking part in the last leg of ‘Lyra’s Walk’ from Belfast to Derry.
He was among hundreds of people who participated on the three day pilgrimage in honour of the 29-years-old writer who was shot dead in Fanad Drive on April 18.
Mr. Moore said it was an honour to take part in the event and to be allowed to show solidarity with Lyra’s family, friends and her partner Sara Canning.
He said the message needed to go out that those who continued to discharge gunfire on the streets of the North would fuel nothing but more pain, hatred and division.
He said: “I don’t really consider myself a victim or make any claim to be able to speak for victims but I suppose, at the end of the day, that’s what I am. I suppose the person that shot me on the streets of Derry was a person with a gun. And the person that shot Lyra McKee on the streets of Derry was a person with a gun.
“If the person who shot me was totally and utterly wrong then the person who shot Lyra McKee was totally and utterly wrong.
“The pain and the hurt is the same for the families of all victims whether they are Catholic or Protestant, unionist or nationalist, or whatever.”
Mr. Moore grew up in Malin Gardens, just three streets from where Ms. Kee was shot dead by an IRA gunman last month.
He said he felt it was important to be involved in the rally as “a boy from Creggan.”
He said he hoped the senseless killing of Ms. McKee represented a watershed moment and that the courage and endeavour that resulted in the Good Friday Agreement two decades ago could be rekindled.
“I don’t know anybody who is against reconciliation. I speak to people from all political and religious backgrounds from all over the country and not one single person is against reconciliation.
“The problem is that there needs to be action.
“A great hero of mine would be John Hume and I make no bones about that.
“I think that what he did at the time of the Good Friday Agreement and what David Trimble and Gerry Adams did, is that they showed an ability to compromise.”
Mr. Moore, reflecting on the fact that Ms. McKee was one of the children of the Good Friday Agreement generation, said political leaders owed it to her and her contemporaries to return to the road map originally laid out in the peace settlement.
“I think we need to get back to the spirit of compromise of the Good Friday Agreement.
“Sometimes I think we forget, or some people just don’t realise, what it was like during the conflict.
“I remember the dismantlement of the security installations and the checkpoints and the new freedom which that brought.
“It was only once that sense of normality was established that you realised how your day to day life had been affected,” he said.
Mr. Moore joined Lyra’s Walk at Drumahoe yesterday to walk the last three miles of the peace demonstration into the city where he addressed a rally in Guildhall Square.
The walk, which commenced on Saturday, was organised by friends of Ms. McKee and ordinary people affected by her death who declared that they were walking for “peace and to reclaim, to defend and reassert the principles of the GFA.”
Pop singer, Gary Lightbody, of the band’ Snow Patrol,’ was among a number of artistes, including Hex Hue, Lyra’s Choir and Abby Oliveira, who took part in the event.
The walkers, some of whom completed the full 70 mile journey from Belfast yesterday, marched into Derry, bearing flags with a clear and simple message: “Reboot the GFA” and “Not in our name.”
The demonstration was another manifestation of the public response to the death of Ms. Kee who was shot dead when a republican gunman opened fire at police during rioting in Creggan on Holy Thursday.
On Sunday at a panel discussion in Glór Dhún Geimhin, which was also addressed by Mr. Moore, the Derry-born writer Susan McKay said Ms. McKee had epitomised the sense of openness and compromise that the marchers were calling for.
“Lyra instructed us on what to hope for, I think,” she said.
“She loved talking to people who agreed with her and she loved talking to people who disagreed with her.
“It was one of her very rare qualities.
“It’s something you find on social media now, talking among our firends and being quite hostile to those we don’t agree with.
“That wasn’t Lyra’s way. Lyra’s way was to talk to everybody.”