‘Lyra’s death didn’t restore Stormont’

Sara Canning, partner of murdered journalist Lyra McKee, says it has been almost nine months since her partner was murdered. Photo: Channel 4.
Sara Canning, partner of murdered journalist Lyra McKee, says it has been almost nine months since her partner was murdered. Photo: Channel 4.
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The partner of murdered Belfast journalist Lyra McKee says that if the restoration of Stormont had been her legacy “we would have seen it a lot sooner”.

Londonderry woman Sara Canning also said she remains to be convinced that Northern Ireland’s political the parties can work together.

Journalist Lyra McKee was murdered by a republican gunman in Londonderry last year

Journalist Lyra McKee was murdered by a republican gunman in Londonderry last year

Ms McKee was shot dead by a gunman while observing rioting in Londonderry’s Creggan estate on 18 April from behind police lines.

The New IRA said its members were responsible for the killing.

At her funeral in St Anne’s Cathedral Belfast, Fr Martin Magill received a standing ovation when he criticised politicians over the political deadlock.

”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 to this point?” he said, prompting a huge round of applause.

Last week, as the British and Irish governments published the text of a draft deal aimed at restoring power sharing.

Irish Deputy Prime Minister Simon Coveney said it was “very important to remember, it is the awful murder or Lyra McKee that brought us back to these talks nine month ago”.

But Ms Cann did not accept his analysis.

“The day they were called out at Lyra’s funeral to the day it was announced Stormont was coming back, it was 261 days, the guts of nine months, that’s too long,” Ms Canning told BBC Radio Foyle.

“We saw them going back to talks after Lyra was murdered. All they promised was talks, that’s all they delivered.”

“If it was truly Lyra’s legacy, we would have seen it a lot sooner,” Ms Canning said.

She added: “The loss of life wasn’t enough, to be fair it has never been enough, we have seen lots of other victims, Lyra is not alone.

“Their lives haven’t been enough to make our politicians work together.”

Ms Canning said she also continues to struggle to come to terms with the murder of her partner.

“It’s a really hard thing to come to terms with, when you don’t have that justice,” Ms Canning said.

“There was a time I would look at every man of a particular build, see people who you knew were connected to that group and you would be thinking ‘he knows’.

“That person knows who killed my Lyra. But they have to live with the fact they did that, people have to live with the fact they know who did that.

“I don’t know how anybody could be okay with that, you have to be missing something deep in your soul,” she said.