By Joan McKiernan
I watched the conclusion of Lyra McKee’s funeral on Facebook’s live feed and was struck by the hypocrisy of the politicians as they lined the steps of the cathedral to pose for the mob of TV crews. They applauded as Lyra’s coffin, bedecked with flowers in rainbow colors, a symbol of her life as a gay activist, was driven off to its final destination.
I read that Lyra intended to propose to her partner. But here’s the thing. If they were to be married where would the ceremony have happened? Not at home in the North because the same politicians who saluted her cortege had forbidden that. They flocked to a cathedral in Belfast to salute her coffin but would have denied her the chance to marry in the same place.
Those ‘great and good’ also preside over the only place in those islands where women must travel to England to get an abortion. And how many of the editors who waxed angrily about her violent death will now admit they refused to give space to her stories about the Rape Crisis Center being starved of cash. And presiding over this hypocrisy at Belfast cathedral was Theresa May, prime minister of the UK.
May is head of a government, supported at Westminster by the DUP and in the North by Sinn Fein, which has imposed horrific austerity, poverty, unemployment, and insecurity in working class areas. One such area, hard hit by May’s policies was the Creggan, where Lyra was killed.