The sister of murdered journalist Lyra McKee has been encouraging her adult children to leave Northern Ireland as she does not want her grandchildren to grow up where some communities have “gone back to such barbaric behaviour.”
Nicola McKee Corner told RTÉ radio’s Today show with Philip Boucher Hayes, that the party leaders should “come out onto the streets” to engage with the people claiming to be so disaffected, to find out the issues and alleviate them.
Ms McKee Corner said that the past week had been extremely difficult as the second anniversary of her sister’s death approached. She said she lives close to where the violence was occurring and had friends and family on both sides of the Peace Walls.
The young people involved were “probably” not fully aware of what they were doing, she said.
For them, it was “a bit of fun and excitement.”
The adults looking on were much more responsible and were not using their influence to say “stop doing this”. They were actively encouraging such behaviour which was frightening and disheartening.
“Prisoners of the past.”
Ms McKee Corner said she had encouraged her adult children to move away as “I feel we are always going to be prisoners of the past” and were being “held to ransom at every turn”.
Some sections of the community were going back to barbaric behaviour. “I had hoped that Northern Ireland would become a more civil place, but it seems we’re going to stay prisoners of the past.”
It was reprehensible that some were “stoking the fires” and were “holding the matches themselves”. They needed to take responsibility before someone was injured or killed, she said.
Ms McKee Corner said her mother had died of a broken heart following the death of Lyra.
“It’s very difficult to know that the person who killed Lyra is walking free, living their life, while we’re still suffering every day.”
The violence on the streets of Belfast was going to destroy families and there was no justification “for any of it.” Her sister had been killed when a gunman fired a bullet during a riot, that could happen in Belfast where someone could come along and “act carelessly” and kill another human being. “What is the purpose of that?”