Lyra McKee peace march: Voices in unison demand an end to killings

Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody on stage in Guildhall Square
Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody on stage in Guildhall Square

A choir of ordinary people has come together to call for no more killings in Northern Ireland in the name of Lyra McKee.

Some had never sung before and met only hours earlier but performed in front of hundreds in Londonderry city centre at the conclusion of a three-day march.

They filled a temporary stage, crammed shoulder to shoulder and dressed in everyday clothes, as they sang the murdered journalist’s favourite song, Smalltown Girl.

They also covered themes like people power.

Many in the crowd wore T-shirts in her memory and carried flags with messages of peace.

Ms McKee, 29, was shot in the head by dissident republican group the New IRA while observing clashes with police in the Creggan estate in Londonderry last month.

Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody joined the peace walk on the last leg on Monday ahead of the rally at Londonderry’s Guildhall Square.

During the funeral a priest asked Northern Ireland’s politicians why it took the death of a 29-year-old woman to unite their parties.

The latest talks process designed to restore devolved political power-sharing was launched soon after the murder.

A spokeswoman for the walkers told the crowd failure to do the right thing was not an option, in reference to the political vacuum.

“We want to thank the McKee family for their honesty, their integrity, their love and their strength.

“Our hearts are broken for you but our hearts are open for you.

“As Lyra said, it won’t always be like this, it will get better.”

Richard Moore was shot and blinded aged 10 by a soldier.

He is a peace activist who brought the Dalai Lama to Londonderry in the past.

He urged politicians to compromise.

“What we need to see out of our leaders is for them to take a risk for peace.”

He said the gunmen were destroying their own cause.