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Friends, colleagues pay tribute to slain journalist Lyra McKee

The journalist who was shot dead in Northern Ireland in what authorities are calling a “terrorist act” was remembered Friday in heartfelt tributes that poured in on social media.

Lyra McKee, 29, died after she was shot Thursday during rioting in the Creggan area, on the eve of the 21st anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement — which marked the end to a period of long-running violence known as “The Troubles.”

McKee was an editor at Mediagazer, and contributed to the Atlantic as well as BuzzFeed News.

Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar mourned McKee’s death and condemned the violence that took her life.

“The Government condemns in the strongest possible terms the fatal shooting of journalist and writer Lyra McKee in Derry,” he wrote. “We are all full of sadness after last night’s events. We cannot allow those who want to propagate violence, fear and hate to drag us back to the past.”

Irish Tánaiste, or deputy prime minister, Simon Coveney, expressed similar sentiments.

“Sick to my stomach at death of Lyra McKee in Derry,” Coveney tweeted. “She was an inspiring thinker and journalist. Last night she was killed by a thug terrorizing people in Derry.”

Friends and colleagues said they remembered McKee as a committed journalist who helped to bring light in difficult times.

“Anyone who had ever come across @LyraMcKee here would know her dedication to her craft, and her determination to do her bit to drag Northern Ireland away from its darkest days,” political correspondent Gavan Reilly tweeted. “To think those dark days have taken her instead is unspeakably sad. RIP Lyra.”

“Utterly devastated at the news that Lyra McKee has been killed,” wrote Patrick Corrigan, the Northern Ireland program director and head of nations and regions at Amnesty International UK. “Lyra was a great young journalist, whose commitment to truth was absolute and whose laughter could light up a room.”

“On Good Friday, 21 years after our peace agreement, it’s time for our children to know real peace,” he added.

Other writers shared that they drew their inspiration from McKee.

“Lyra McKee was the woman who encouraged me to write,” wrote podcast host Stephen Donnan. “My heart is broken. A bright light has been blown out. And for what? For what?”

Irish Times reporter Jennifer O’Connell shared one of McKee’s personal stories about growing up in the wake of the Good Friday agreement.

And Sharon Nolan, a Social Democrats candidate for Galway City Central, posted another piece by McKee about growing up gay in Belfast.

Police in Northern Ireland say the republican group the New IRA — which rejects the Good Friday Agreement — was likely responsible for the killing.

Tensions have recently spiked up in Northern Ireland, with sporadic violence, much of it centered in Derry.



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