Nichola McKee Corner, whose sister Lyra McKee was shot dead during rioting in the Creggan area of Derry in 2019, has urged politicians in Northern Ireland to engage with those who have been involved in violence over the past week.

Ms McKee Corner called on political party leaders to "come out onto the streets and engage with people who are claiming to be so disaffected that they are turning to violence".

She said some politicians in the North have been "ignoring" these sections of the community, while "some others have been stoking the fires".

Speaking on RTÉ's Today with Philip Boucher Hayes, Ms McKee Corner said: "We need good and proper leadership quickly before someone is killed."

She said recent events have been made more "difficult to witness" as her sister's second anniversary approaches.

The 29-year-old was shot while observing clashes with police. 

Lyra McKee was shot dead in 2019

Ms McKee Corner said that no one who was in Creggan on 18 April 2019 could have known that a gunman would come out and fire towards a group of onlookers.

"No-one could have anticipated that. And in the same way no one knows that in this violence, that somewhere along the line a gunman may appear in a similar fashion, recklessly and kill another innocent human being. For what? What is the purpose? All it does is destroy families and destroy lives", she said.


McDonald calls for calm as violence continues in NI 


She said she lives close to areas of unrest in Belfast and has friends and family who live "on both sides of the peace walls that people have been trying to burn down".

Ms McKee Corner said the young people who are engaged in violence are "not fully aware of why they are doing that they are doing.

"They are caught up in mob mentality and are joining in with knowing the reasons why. They see it as a source of fun and excitement."

She said it is "frightening and disheartening" that people who have influence over this section of the community are "not using it".

Ms McKee Corner said she is encouraging her own children to find a way to get out of Northern Ireland. 

"We are always going to be held prisoners to a past that we were not involved in. We are going to be held to ransom every time when things don't go the way of people in certain sections of the community. That is not the way I want my children to live."

Ms McKee Corner said it has been difficult to support her family, which she said has been made worse "by knowing that the person who killed Lyra is walking free and living their life, while we have to suffer every single day because of what they did.

"Mummy became very sick after Lyra was killed and she died of a broken heart in March last year," she added.