21 Apr 2019
On Good Friday we woke up to the horrific news that a young woman had lost her life in a cruel and senseless way whilst doing the job she loved. Our sincerest sympathies go to Lyra McKee’s partner, family and friends. The irony of this day some 20 years on from the signing of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement is not lost on many of us. In her own words, Lyra was from the “Good Friday Agreement Generation.” A generation that we believed would never have to live through the horrors that we did, but as she said, “reap the spoils of peace.”
Over the last 40 years the Community Foundation has worked tirelessly to support the most marginalised, the most vulnerable in our society. We have and continue to take risks in support of peace, in support of a better future for all, in support of creating a peaceful, shared and just society- it’s our mission, our raison d’etre and it’s more important now than ever. We recognise that there will always be dissenting voices and whilst that voice needs to be expressed and heard, it must be done peacefully.
Today is however a wake up call for us all. If we want a peaceful, shared and just society then we must work harder for it and even harder to keep it. Our politicians must get back around the table and start genuinely working together for the good of everyone. Times up, there is no space for excuses. To the community gatekeepers, intent on ruling communities through violence and coercive control, ask yourselves is this really the way to achieve your objectives?
Today, tomorrow and the months ahead Lyra McKee’s family and friends will try to make sense of the senseless and will try to comprehend the incomprehensible. Lyra was meant to reap the rewards of peace. We all were. We need to work together and work harder to make sure the ‘spoils of peace’ reach and benefit us all.