NUJ: Politicians in the North need to step up or there will be other victims

Irish secretary of the National Union of Journalists, Seamus Dooley

The Irish secretary of the National Union of Journalists, Seamus Dooley, says the political leaders in Northern Ireland now need to step up to the plate or there will be other victims in the future.

He was responding to a question about what he thought murdered journalist Lyra McKee would have said to the politicians who came to Creggan on the day after her killing.

“Why did it take you so long? Why did someone have to die to get political leaders to Creggan?”

Mr Dooley paid tribute to Ms McKee, describing her as talented and multi-faceted.

It was easy to say that she had a great future ahead of her, he said, but at the age of 29 she already had amassed “an enormous amount of work.”

Working in a profession that can at times be hard and cynical, she remained full of life and very positive even when writing about difficult subjects like suicide and the difficulties faced by the LGBT community.

People found it difficult to argue with her because of her charm, he added.

The best tribute that could be paid to her was for the subjects she highlighted to be properly covered and for there to be more investment in journalism.

From an NUJ perspective the lesson that needed to be learned, he said, was the need to support freelance journalists.

Mr Dooley said he was shocked and his heart sank when he had heard about her death.

"I think like everyone else I was just full of despair, but also there's a great sense of hope because her family want to treat today as a celebration of her life and we have been told we have to be part of that dignified celebration".

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