Lyra McKee’s partner Sara Canning’s blunt messages for her killers and the government

The mural of Lyra McKee, unveiled in Belfast on Tuesday

From the Guardian report of Sara Canning’s interview on Channel 4 News

YouTube video


“If the politicians won’t legislate for equal marriage at Stormont, then the prime minister should do it at Westminster. That’s what I told Theresa May at Lyra’s funeral. I wanted her to know that Lyra and I had a right to be treated as equal citizens in our own country. Surely that’s not too much to ask?

She dismissed the UK government’s position that the extension of marriage equality rights was for Northern Irish politicians to decide – given that the devolved administration in Stormont has not been sitting since 2017.

“I basically told her she was massively derelict in her duties to Northern Ireland, and successive governments have [been],” Canning told Channel 4 News. “I told her that to tell us issues like gay marriage and abortion rights are a devolved matter is completely out of order… We’re not a devolved state any more. We’re completely unsuccessful. It has been shown that we can’t work together, so the British government has to be our government and they have to be our voice and they have to do better.”

“I was speaking to Leo Varadkar and I said you need to facilitate these people sitting down at a table. And so I’m putting my trust in you – you’re a world leader, and you have a presence here. You need to use it for good.”

She added that she told Northern Ireland secretary Karen Bradley she was doing a “pretty terrible job” in her role. “[I said] her lack of knowledge around Northern Ireland was appalling. She needed to go and educate herself. How on earth had she taken a job where she had no knowledge of the area?”

“Same sex marriage and an Irish Language Act are important. They are important, don’t get me wrong. But what’s more important is having a working government who are doing what’s right for the people of Northern Ireland. Because we are, we’ve been left adrift.”

From the Irish Times report

Sara Canning said the young people who had killed the woman she was going to marry had been groomed and attracted into a life of violence.

“They are grooming young men and women,” she said.

“They’re no better, they speak out about paedophile gangs, but they’re no better than paedophiles.

“They literally take young people who are disenfranchised at the best of times, who are living in poverty, who don’t see a future for themselves in Northern Ireland because there is literally very little here for them and they tell them that the way forward is a gun in their hand. The way forward is never a gun in your hand.

“It was so indiscriminate. There was no regard for human life… They took away an amazing person.

“I’ve lost the person I was supposed to spend the rest of my life with.”

She added: “We’d planned the rest of our lives together and in one split second some idiot with a gun took that away.”

Ms Canning described the statements issued by Saoradh and the New IRA after her death as “pathetic” and “mealy-mouthed apologies”.

“You can’t apologise for killing someone,” she said.

“You can’t call it an accidental shooting. You fire a gun at a crowd, it’s not an accidental shooting. You’re aiming to shoot someone.




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