‘Why in God’s name does it take the death of a 29-year-old woman
with her whole life in front of her to get us to this point?’
From The Irish Times
Fr Magill spoke about Lyra’s warmth, her love of her family, writing, and Harry Potter, of her “determined doggedness”, and of her love of life and fun. However, Fr Magill also had stern words for her New IRA killers and also for the politicians who have contributed to the political paralysis and pessimism in Northern Ireland.
“Many of us will be praying that Lyra’s death in its own way will not have been in vain and will contribute in some way to building peace here. Since Thursday night we have seen the coming together of many people in various places and the unifying of the community against violence,” said Fr Magill.
“I commend our political leaders for standing together in Creggan on Good Friday. I am, however, left with a question: ‘Why in God’s name does it take the death of a 29-year-old woman with her whole life in front of her to get us to this point?’”
He added: “I dare to hope that Lyra’s murder on Holy Thursday night can be the doorway to a new beginning. I detect a deep desire for this.”
He quoted one of McKee’s friends in Derry who said: “We have had enough. There is a younger generation coming up in the town and they don’t need guns put in their hands. They need jobs, they need a better health service and education. They need a life, not a gun put in their hands.”
To those who had any part in her murder, Fr Magill said: “I encourage you to reflect on Lyra McKee, journalist and writer, as a powerful example of ‘The pen is mightier than the sword’. I plead with you to take the road of non-violence to achieve your political ends.
“It was encouraging to see that those who provide a political analysis to the organisation responsible for her death chose to call off their parade on Easter Monday following the call from Fr Joe Gormley, the parish priest in Creggan, where Lyra was killed. To those still intent on violence, I ask you to listen to the majority of the people on your beloved island of Ireland who are calling on you to stop.”
Fr Magill also paid tribute “to the courage and determination of the women who in a very powerful gesture of non-violence one by one placed their hands in blood red paint on a wall” of the office of dissident republicans in Derry and said loudly “we are not afraid”.