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29-year-old journalist Lyra McKee will be laid to rest today. The writer’s funeral will take place at the Belfast Cathedral of St Anne. Thousands are expected to gather to say their goodbyes to the talented and compassionate journalist, including her loving family.

The family of Lyra issued a statement ahead of her funeral today. It reads: “On Thursday 18th April our beautiful Lyra was taken from us. A daughter, a sister, an aunt, a great-aunt, a partner, a niece, a cousin, and above all, a best friend and confidante to so many of us.”

“A friend to all, a gentle innocent soul who wouldn’t wish ill on anyone. Such a warm and innocent heart, she was the greatest listener, someone who had time for everyone. She was a smart, strong-minded woman who believed in passionately in inclusivity, justice and truth.

“Lyra spoke to and made friends with anybody and everybody, no matter what their background, those of all political views and those with none. This openness, and her desire to bring people together, made her totally apolitical.

“We would like to thank everyone for the outpouring of support and love we have witnessed this past few days. It has been of immense solace that Lyra meant so much to so many. We ask everyone who knew Lyra to continue her message of positivity and hope, by respecting her memory with dignity and respect.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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“We as a family know that the whole community has been touched by the events of Thursday night and that many are rightly angry. However, we would ask that Lyra’s life and her personal philosophy are used as an example to us all as we face this tragedy together.

“Lyra’s answer would have been simple, the only way to overcome hatred and intolerance is with love, understanding and kindness.

“We are a private family and would ask as a family that our privacy is respected at this impossibly difficult time. We will, in time, speak to you all, but need space and time in the coming days and weeks to deal with the trauma of Lyra’s sudden tragic death. Until that time, we would request that all media contact could be made via our legal representatives.”

Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Lyra on this devastating day.

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A GoFundMe campaign has been set up this morning in memory of Lyra McKee, the investigative journalist that was shot dead in a terrorist incident on the streets of Derry last night.

The campaign has been set up by a friend of Lyra's and all of the money raised will go to the family of Lyra McKee for funeral expenses and to decide on her legacy.

Over £15,000 has been raised so far.

You can donate by clicking here.

It has been reported that a gunman shot Lyra in the head as she attempted to cover riots on the Creggan area of the city.

Close friend of Lyra McKee, Matthew Hughes expressed his devastation at the loss of his dear friend.

“She was one of my closest friends. She was my mentor. She was a groomswoman at my wedding. I can't imagine life without her, and yet now I must. I'm devastated.”

Sinéad Gleeson added: “It’s utterly senseless and such a waste. Lyra, at 29, was a blazing comet; fearless and full of integrity (and mischief, it has to be said). Heartbroken for her family and friends, and for all the challenging and brilliant work we will never get to see. Thank you @LyraMcKee.”

Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Lyra McKee. She will forever be remembered for her powerful words and determined heart.

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Tributes have been paid to 29-year-old journalist Lyra McKee who was killed in Derry last night. Lyra was reporting on riots in the Creggan area of Derry when a gunman shot her.

It is understood that a dissident republican shot the young journalist. The PSNI are appealing for witnesses.

Lyra has been remembered as an inspiring and gifted writer whose future was cruelly stolen from her in what has been described as a ‘senseless’ act.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Lyra was set to release her first book The Lost Boys in 2020.

Tánaiste Simon Coveney paid tribute to the writer: “Sick to my stomach at death of Lyra McKee in Derry. She was an inspiring thinker and journalist. Last night she was killed by a thug terrorizing people in Derry.”

“Heartbreaking news. A senseless act. A family has been torn apart. Those who brought guns onto our streets in the 70s, 80s & 90s were wrong. It is equally wrong in 2019. No one wants to go back. My thoughts are also with the brave officers who stood in defence of their community,” said Arlene Foster.

Close friend of Lyra McKee, Matthew Hughes expressed his devastation at the loss of his dear friend.

“She was one of my closest friends. She was my mentor. She was a groomswoman at my wedding. I can't imagine life without her, and yet now I must. I'm devastated.”

Sinéad Gleeson added: “It’s utterly senseless and such a waste. Lyra, at 29, was a blazing comet; fearless and full of integrity (and mischief, it has to be said). Heartbroken for her family and friends, and for all the challenging and brilliant work we will never get to see. Thank you @LyraMcKee.”

Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Lyra McKee. She will forever be remembered for her powerful words and determined heart.

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Tributes have been pouring in for Marie Downey and her newborn son Darragh who both tragically passed away at Cork University Hospital this week.

The harrowing deaths of the new mum and her baby boy have stunned the public. The family of Marie are now experiencing the heaviest heartache at what was meant to be a joyous time for them.

Marie leaves behind her beloved husband Kieran and her darling boys and baby Darragh’s big brothers James and Sean, as well as her parents, extended family and friends.

Parish Priest Fr. Eamon Kelleher has led the tributes since the untimely passing of both Marie and Darragh.

Zara King reported that he said that this tragedy is felt by the whole parish of Kildorrery. “I want to acknowledge that the whole community is gathered in prayer. Kieran and the boys are surrounded in Knockanevin with great affection and spiritual empathy.”

Douglas Camogie Club also paid tribute to Marie who played for the club for many years.

“We are deeply saddened to announce the tragic passing of our former player Marie Downey and her baby Darragh. Our thoughts and sympathies are with their family and friends at this deeply distressing time.”

One friend told the Irish Independent: “It's unbelievable, she was a gorgeous girl. She had a heart of gold, she was very caring."

Marie and her baby boy will be laid to rest on Saturday, March 30. Our thoughts are with their family and friends during this tragic time.

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Gardaí are appealing for the public’s assistance after two people were killed in a serious road traffic collision this morning.

A man in his 70s and a woman in her 30s were fatally injured in a road traffic collision on the Drumcondra Rd Lower at approximately 6.30 am.

The deceased male and female have been removed to the Dublin City Mortuary, Whitehall where a post mortem examination will take place.

Gardaí wish to renew their appeal to motorists with dashcams or anyone travelling on Drumcondra Rd Lower between 5.45am and 6.15am to contact Mountjoy Garda Station on 016668600 , the Garda Confidential Line 1800-666-111 or any Garda station.

A technical and forensic examination of the scene is currently underway. Drumcondra Road Lower will remain closed in both directions for a number of hours and diversions remain in place. Further updates will be available on Garda Twitter.

It is anticipated that the road will reopen at approximately 11am.

 

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Two men have been arrested in connection with the deaths of three teenagers who were killed in the Cookstown disco tragedy on St.Patrick’s Day.

The men, who are aged 40 and 52, have been arrested on suspicion of corporate manslaughter and are currently in custody.

17-year-old Morgan Barnard, 17-year-old Lauren Bullock and 16-year-old Connor Currie tragically died in a suspected crush at the Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown, Tyrone.

The PSNI stated: “Detectives from PSNI Major Investigation Team investigating the deaths of three teenagers at the Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown on 17 March have arrested two men aged 52 and 40 earlier today, Tuesday 19 March, on suspicion of corporate manslaughter. They are currently in custody.”

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A book of condolence has opened this morning in memory of the teenagers who tragically died in the Tyrone disco tragedy.

The public can sign the book at The Burnavon arts centre in Cookstown, at Ranfurly House, Dungannon, and at The Bridewell centre in Magherafelt.

The three teenagers whose lives were tragically taken too soon were named as 17-year-old Lauren Bullock, 17-year-old Morgan Barnard and 16-year-old Connor Currie.

Tributes have been pouring in for the three teenagers since the harrowing news of their untimely deaths broke.

The community is said to be completely devastated by the loss of Lauren, Morgan and Connor.

The President of Ireland has expressed his concolences to their families.

He stated: “As President of Ireland may I express what I know is the shared grief of the people of Ireland at the terrible loss of life of young students in the tragedy that took place in Cookstown, County Tyrone on St. Patrick’s Day.”

He continued: “May I offer, in particular, my condolences to the families of the victims and to the pupils of the schools in Dungannon that I visited recently.”

The lives of the three teenagers were claimed when large crowds tried to push their way into the St. Patrick’s Day event at the Greenvale Hotel.

The PSNI are carrying out a major investigation.

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There have been calls for upskirting to become a criminal offence in Ireland. The CEO of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre believes Irish legislation needs to be seriously updated.

The call comes after upskirting was made a criminal and sexual offence in both England and Wales.

Upskirting is the practice of taking unauthorized photos under a woman's skirt.

People found guilty of this act could face two years in prison and could also be put on the sex offender’s register.

Speaking to Newstalk Breakfast, Noeline Blackwell stated: “As it stands right now, this remains wrong and harmful but really difficult for the police to find a way to prosecute it or to hold anyone to account. A message has to be sent out by society that it's not tolerated, you do that through legislation."

She added that this offence causes major distress and upset for victims, but there are still people who find it funny. “This remains wrong and harmful.”

Gina Martin tirelessly campaigned for the criminalisation of upskirting for over two years. When news broke that it would be made illegal in England and Wales, she said she was exhausted and happy after it was decided the offence became illegal.
 

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A second 24-hour strike by 37,000 nurses and midwives will take place today, February 5.

They have taken to the picket line to fight for pay parity with other healthcare professionals.

The number of services on strike has increased from 82 to 240, meaning up to 50,000 people will be affected by today’s strike.

The public has been warned to stay away from emergency departments while the strike is ongoing.

It is understood that all outpatient appointments, routine community nursing activities and surgeries have been cancelled.

Centres for old people that are run by nurses have also been closed. As have local injury units.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Health Minister Simon Harris and Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe called for urgent talks that would focus on a ‘safe staffing framework’ rather than pay.

The offer to discuss this was declined by Phil Ní Sheaghdha, who is the general secretary of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation.

The nurses are striking for the pay increase they deserve. They have called for a 12 percent pay increase, however, the Government is reluctant to agree to this request as they believe it will cause other public service unions to call for the same.

Good luck to all of those striking today.

Feature Image: INMO

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This news is set to brighten this miserable and cold Thursday. Rumour has it Ireland is about to get ANOTHER bank holiday. There are currently nine bank holidays throughout the year but we’re set to be enjoying a tenth one very soon.

The new bank holiday would be on May 9, meaning we will be revelling in two bank holidays during the month of May.

This bank holiday will be known as Europe Day. The aim of this new bank holiday will be to streghten European sentiment across EU state members.

Croatian MP Ivan Jakovčić said: “Having 9 May as a public holiday is not for the sake of holidays but so that we can show our unity and fight for our values."

The chances of this holiday being passed are quite strong with Spanish Liberal MEP Maite Pagazaurtundua saying it "will most probably be passed" next month.

It is understood that there’s huge support behind the idea of making May 9 an official bank holiday.

May is going to be one hell of a wonderful month.

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The HSE is set to launch an investigation after details of a woman’s medical abortion were leaked in Dublin this week. The woman was reportedly targeted by a pro-life group who somehow managed to get details of her hospital records.

The woman took to a Facebook group to warn others of a fake counselling service. The message has since been shared on Twitter.

The woman explained that she had had a medical abortion on Monday in a Dublin hospital. She shared that after everything had passed she had an internal scan and she was good to go home.

She was told that she wouldn’t need any more scans.

The woman then explained that she received a phone call from an number she did not recognise: “I got a phone call saying to rebook a scan. He gave me my name, my address and told me to come in on Monday.”

The woman then got a text saying where to go, but she felt like something wasn’t right. She then rang the hospital who said they knew nothing about the call.

“I rang him back and I asked who he was and he said my options, but then he started shouting abuse at me saying I was disgusting for what I had done.”

She warned others that the place he was telling her to go is trying to stop women from having abortions and claimed that ‘no voters’ are behind it.

“I want girls to be majorly aware. It scared me,” she added.

A spokesperson for Minister Harris has called for the HSE to investigate the leaked information. They told The Journal:  He has asked the HSE to investigate the alleged breach of patient information. The Minister has been quite clear abortion services should be viewed as a normalised part of the health service and women accessing that service should not be subjected to any intimidation or harassment."

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Today, the nurses and midwives of Ireland have taken to the picket lines to fight for pay parity with other healthcare professionals.

37,000 members of the INMO stood proudly outside hospitals and HSE facilities from 8 am to show the Government that they’ve been mistreated for far too long.

As I drove past St. James’s Hospital on my bus this morning I was overcome with a sense of both pride and emotion when I spotted the crowds of nurses at the picket line.

The Government may fail to see their value, but any person who has had a loved one or has been in the hospital themselves knows, the nurses are the true heroes.

They may not be the ones who perform life-saving operations, but they are the ones who offer love, care and humanity in a place that can be so unbearably isolating and intimidating.

They reassured my family with kind smiles when my Mam was admitted to the intensive care unit.

They popped into the family room at the end of their shifts to make sure we had something to eat and drink between hours and hours of anxious waiting.

They not only treated my Mam like a patient but most importantly a person. They joked with her about the doctors who had poor bedside manner, they comforted her on nerve-wracking trips to CT scans and never once let her feel lonely when she spent weeks away from her own bed, her home and her family.

They always ensured to be chirpy and optimistic when chatting to us about Mam and her treatments, ailments and fears.

They were the ones who rushed to her aid in the middle of the night. The ones who made her laugh when she was upset about having to stay another day and another and another.

They were the ones who reassured me and my sisters that this was only temporary and that one day Mam would be back home, listening to Sunshine 106.8 and complaining about the heating being turned off.

They gave us hope during the darkest times.

They offered support during the harrowing moments.

They were the heroes we desperately neede on the terrifying days.

And that is why I stand with the nurses and midwives of Ireland because they have always stood by both their patients and their family’s sides no matter how over-worked, emotionally drained and exhausted they were.

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