Murder of Lyra McKee unites society in condemnation

Morning View
Morning View

News Letter editorial of Saturday April 20 2019:

The murder of Lyra McKee has produced an outpouring of denunciation and sadness.

Six of the main political parties issued a joint statement. It reiterated support for the PSNI, which is significant from Sinn Fein.

It almost seemed indeed that the horrific shooting brought Sinn Fein and the DUP slightly closer together.

Perhaps republicans, who at times latterly have seemed to try to show that they share many of the concerns of dissidents, are alarmed at any sudden reminders of the prospect of their emergence as a serious threat.

Whatever the reason, if there has been some good that has come out of this tragedy, it is a by-product that will be welcomed by many people at this time of political division.

But while the killing was a tragedy, it was also a grievous crime. The gunman was trying to kill police officers.

In doing so, he was reckless around civilians. As a consequence, a journalist died — a young, vibrant, friendly and much loved one at that.

Therefore, finding the guilty people is of course of a major priority now for the PSNI. But there needs to be an overhaul of the sentences that have been given to people convicted of major terrorist offences. For some of the worst dissident convictions, that has been happening.

But some of the lesser, albeit still serious, offences, terms have been too light. That must change, and it is the domain of politicians to overhaul sentencing guidelines.