Lyra McKee's partner Sara Canning fears rise in violence in Northern Ireland

During an interview, Sara Canning discussed the upsurge of violence saying, "There is a definite backslide".

A young woman, Sara Canning, stands in front of microphones at a rally

During an interview on Sean O’Rourke’s radio show, Sara Canning, the partner of murdered journalist Lyra McKee, expressed her fears of a backslide into violence in Northern Ireland.

Speaking to O’Rourke, she shared, “I grew up during the Troubles. I have seen a lot of things happen. It is sad to see things sliding back a little bit. There is a definite backslide. I’ve seen a lot of things happen in Derry. It’s been a hotbed of activity. It’s really sad to see that we are sliding backwards a bit.”

McKee was murdered in April of this year when she was shot while reporting at the scene of riots that broke out in Derry.

Sara Canning continued, “There’s a lot of people who are very good at manipulating the current political situation to meet their ends. They are using young people as a means to do it, they’re indoctrinating people in a way no different to Isis. They’re using a situation that is unclear and unsure and an economic situation that’s incredibly volatile and it’s detrimental to people.”

“People are living in poverty and are struggling to see a future and struggling to see a way out. Then they’re offered this prestige and a name for themselves and that is something that really appeals to young people when they don’t have anything else. We are being failed in Northern Ireland. Politicians are not as focused as they should be.”

While expressing concerns about the rise of violence, Canning also stressed the kindness and support she had received from the public. “Derry people are very goodhearted. There is a lot of heart and outreach, a lot of deep feeling.”

“They told stories of how their loved ones were taken from them. I made the worst phone calls of my life to people who loved Lyra and who she loved. If we knew how heart-rending those stories are we would have a bit more passion.”

Appearing on the United Ireland podcast a few months ago, Canning explained, “All the politicians have been making the right noises towards me. I have conversations with everyone from Mary Lou McDonald right the way through to Arlene Foster and people in between and some people are better than others in terms of their engagement and their grasp on reality and the reality that their constituents live in.

“The rest of the UK is 5 years ahead of us in terms of equal marriage and 50 years ahead of us in terms of bodily autonomy. ‘Holy Catholic Ireland’, who no-one would ever have believed, has now legalised same-sex marriage and has abortion provision and we’re still languishing here in the North, we have nothing.”

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