Derry priest warns of attempts to use young people to bring violence back to streets in the North

A priest from the Creggan area in Derry who comforted the partner and family of murdered journalist Lyra McKee in Altnagelvin Hospital on the night she was shot has told of his concern at attempts to use young people “to bring violence back to the streets.”

Reverend Joseph Gormley of St Mary's Presbytery in Creggan told Newstalk Breakfast “these tactics will never work.”

He called on politicians “to get this moving again for all our sakes” and he warned “any opportunity will be used by these groups to put forward their agenda.”

Fr Gormley rejected the claim that Ms McKee’s death was “an accident.”

“That’s ludicrous. There was an intent to kill, they intended to kill a police officer.”

He said there was a “definite attempt” to bring violence back to the streets and to use young people to do this. This was a tactic that had been used in the past, but he said the response to the death of the journalist meant that such tactics “will never work.”

People in the North “do not want any more of this”. Apart from the physical scars, many are still suffering psychological trauma. “As a priest we’re still burying people as a consequence of the Troubles.

“People are still trying to deal with it.”

There is a need for “hard conversations” about social problems and it is up to politicians to address these issues rather than leaving it to these groups “to sort them out.”

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