NUJ concern at Court protests

The National Union of Journalists has expressed grave concern at disturbing scenes outside the courthouse in Derry today when journalists covering the appearance of a man accused of the murder of journalist Lyra McKee were subject to intimidation from protesters.

Paul McIntyre, 52, from Derry has been charged with murder, possession of a firearm and membership of a proscribed organisation, the IRA.

As McIntyre arrived in court, protesters scuffled with police as Mr McIntyre was brought into court.

The protestors refused to move from the court’s entrance, cheering loudly as Mr McIntyre was driven into the court buildings.  Journalists were intimidated as they sought to cover the event.

Commenting on the incidents District Judge Barney McElholm said: “A woman with her entire life ahead of her, a very promising life, was murdered needlessly and pointlessly, like all the other murders in this country.

It is very important that the murderers of Lyra McKee are brought to justice if this can be done, but we need to get the right people.”

An application for bail was adjourned, and Mr McIntyre was remanded in custody until 27 February.

Friends and relatives of Lyra McKee – including her partner, Sara Canning were in the public gallery.

Séamus Dooley, NUJ Assistant General Secretary, welcomed the comments of District Judge McElholm.

He said: “Journalists have a right to cover public court hearings. The scenes outside the court were very disturbing and we are gravely concerned at the behaviour”.

Michelle Stanistreet. Image © Jess Hurd

Michelle Stanistreet, General Secretary said: “Our thoughts are with Sara, Lyra’s partner and with her family. This was no doubt an emotional day for family, friends and colleagues and we extend solidarity to them at this time.”