The partner of journalist Lyra McKee has described a dissident republican parade being held in Derry today, the third anniversary of her killing, as a “massive slap in the face”.
The 29-year-old journalist was shot dead on 18 April 2019 while observing rioting in Londonderry.
The New IRA later admitted responsibility for her death.
The group’s political wing, known as Saoradh, will march around the city today before a wreath-laying ceremony in the City Cemetery, in a parade that could attract up to 2,000 people. Organisers have resisted calls to change the date of the march.
No one has yet been convicted of Ms McKee’s murder.
Today, her family and partner Sara Canning gathered for a vigil at the spot on Fanad Drive where she was shot.
Speaking to Sky News, Ms Canning said the parade made the anniversary “much more difficult”, and said it showed “a lack of respect” for Ms McKee’s loved ones.
“If they’d moved the date, I would never have said anything”, she said.
“But the fact that they’ve insisted on going ahead with this march, when they could’ve said out of respect for the McKee family, ‘we’ll move this to Easter Saturday, or Tuesday’, instead they’re going ahead with it, and acted if this is just A-OK.”
“It’s massive slap in the face, and hugely disrespectful.”
Ms McKee’s sister Nichola McKee Corner said that any show of paramilitary strength at today’s parade would “show them for what they really are and that is really it. The whole world will see them for what they truly are, and they will have done the police’s job for them”.
The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) says their investigation remains “very active” and have issued a fresh appeal for information ahead of the anniversary.
Three people have been charged with Ms McKee’s murder, and six others with related public-order offences. Thirty arrests have been made by police.
The family today echoed that appeal for information.
Ms Canning said that “we are still waiting for justice for Lyra. We’ve seen many arrests, many people charged, there are people charged with her murder, but none are of them are the person that pulled the trigger that night.
“I stood here that night beside her and I want that person to be behind bars. I want them to feel justice, and for us to get the peace of justice. It won’t bring Lyra back, it won’t do anything to help us in concrete terms, but just to know that they’re getting what they deserve.”
Ms McKee Corner said the killers had “taken away a precious human life. Our precious sister, Sara’s precious partner, and our mummy’s little baby. The person who has done this needs to be behind bars”.