A 29-year-old journalist named Lyra McKee was tragically shot and killed while reporting on riots taking place in Northern Ireland on April 18.
Lyra McKee was covering a night of violence in Londonderry (“Derry”) in Northern Ireland as a freelance reporter when she was killed by a gunman who fired shots amidst the terrifying riots. “We are treating this as a terrorist incident and we have launched a murder inquiry,” police confirmed. “At this stage, we believe her murder was carried out by a violent dissident republican.” Lyra was just 29 years old, and she had tweeted from the scene in Derry just hours before she was tragically killed. “Derry tonight,” she captioned a pic. “Absolute madness.” Here’s more to know about Lyra and this tragic situation.
1. Why are there riots taking place in Northern Ireland? Republicans in Northern Ireland are in favor of having the country break away from the United Kingdom to join the Republic of Ireland instead. There is a large population of these republicans living in Londonderry, and police started searching the area because it was expected that there were bombs and explosives being stored there. The search led to terrifying riots, during which protestors threw explosives at police officers and set two of their vehicles on fire, according to ABC News.
2. Lyra was widely recognized for her work as a journalist. Lyra worked as an investigative journalist in Belfast and was covering the riots as a freelancer. She has written for outlets like The Atlantic and BuzzFeed News in the past. In 2016, Forbes recognized her on its ’30 Under 30 Europe’ list. “McKee’s passion is to dig into topics that others don’t care about,” the magazine explained. “[She] has crowd-funded money to finance research for her first book about the murder of a Northern Ireland politician that dates back more than 30 years. She also writes for a number of publications, such as Mosaic Science and has won a Sky News Young Journalist Award.”
3. Lyra went viral for an article about her teen years as a gay woman. In August 2014, Lyra wrote a powerful piece for The Muckraker about what it was like to grow up as a gay teenager in Northern Ireland. The essay was called “Letter to my 14 Year old Self.” It went viral in Lyra’s home country and was even made into a short film.
4. Lyra has written a book and had a deal to publish more. Lyra wrote the book “Angels With BlueF Faces” about the murder of British Parliament member, Rev. Robert Bradford, in 1981. In 2018, she signed a deal with Faber & Faber to write two more books. Her next publication, “The Lost Boys,” due out in 2020, looks into the disappearance of young men during the 60s and 70s in Belfast.
5. She was extremely interested in the history of her country. Lyra grew up in an area of Northern Ireland that had previously seen a lot of violence due to a period of time called ‘The Troubles. She spent a lot of time investigating and studying this era before her death.