In a statement Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ General Secretary, said the murder has shocked colleagues in Northern Ireland and expressed sympathy to her partner and colleagues of NUJ member Lyra McKee, regarded as one of the most promising journalists in Northern Ireland.
She said: “The killing of a journalist in these circumstances is deeply shocking. To wake up to this news on Good Friday morning is disturbing and profoundly saddening. A young, vibrant life has been destroyed in a senseless act of violence. Our thoughts are with her partner, family and many friends and colleagues. A bright light has been quenched and that plunges all of us in to darkness.
“Alongside her journalistic work Lyra had a promising future as a novelist and in a relatively short career was recognised as a bright, intelligent reporter. Faber is due to publish her book, The Lost Boys, in 2020. Her death is a major loss to journalism.”
Séamus Dooley, NUJ Assistant General Secretary, said: “Lyra McKee was a journalist of courage, style and integrity. She was a woman of great commitment and passion. I have no doubt that it was that commitment which led to her presence on the streets of the Creggan last night, observing a riot situation in the city. She had tweeted just minutes before being hit by a bullet. She had also spoken to a journalist colleague from the riot scene.”
“For many people their first introduction to her work was Lyra’s piece about growing up gay in Belfast, ‘Letter To My 14 Year-Old Self’, which was subsequently turned into a powerful short film.
“In 2016, she was named one of Forbes 30 under 30 in media in Europe, a prediction she dismissed with typical good humour.
“After working in the Belfast Telegraph Lyra enjoyed the freedom of being a freelance journalist and was developing a growing international audience for her work. She worked hard and was noted for her determination.
“This killing serves as a reminder of the ongoing instability in Northern Ireland and must serve as a reminder to those in positions of political leadership to end the political deadlock. Our thoughts are also with the members of the PSNI, especially those who came to Lyra’s assistance after she had been struck by a bullet.”
Lyra was a member of Belfast and District branch of the NUJ. Gerry Carson, branch chair who is also Chair of the Union’s Irish Executive Council expressed condolences on behalf of the branch.
He said: “Lyra was one of the new breed of young and enthusiastic journalists, always pushing the boundaries.”
“On May 4 Lyra was due to speak at an event to mark World Press Freedom Day hosted by Amnesty International at Queens Film Theatre - a panel discussion following a showing of the film on the life of murdered journalist Marie Colvin.”
“She was a firm supporter of our branch. and our thoughts are with her family and friends."