The Banks and Covid-19

The courts in Northern Ireland are now closed , except for pressing business such as the liberty of the citizen or family matters.

All actions by mortgagees for possession of property and all disputes between individuals and banks are in suspended animation.

Many solicitors have closed and therefore little new litigation is getting under way.

There will be a considerable backlog when the courts do finally get back into action. What will the attitude of lenders be? Will they, in the light of inevitable losses be more amenable to settlement? Or will they toughen their stance?

Over the last year, significant inroads have been made into the previously impregnable attitude of lenders , towards defaulting borrowers.

This will be the subject of a second blog, dealing with Danske Bank, Ulster Bank, Cerebus, Promontoria and others.

Meanwhile, what relief , if any, are the banks offering borrowers, distressed by Covid-19?

Here is what they say.

Barclays

I’m writing today as I know that coronavirus is a source of concern for many people right now – and I wanted to let you know we’re here to help.

Whether you would like additional support with managing your money, or have faced disruption to finances or travel plans, we can work with you to look at ways to make things easier, including:

  • Mortgage Payments: Repayment holidays on residential mortgages for up to 90 days
  • Accessing Savings: Removing penalty charges to access fixed savings accounts early
  • Paying Fees: Stopping late payment and cash advance fees for the next 90 days for credit cards.

For more information on this and managing your finances during this period, you can find our latest advice by visiting our homepage and clicking ‘Coronavirus help’ – there you’ll find links to all the content referenced in this email on pages that will be updated daily.

If you need to access your banking services and are unable to get to a branch, or need to stay at home, there are also a wide range of ways that we can help you there too. I’ve outlined a number of those below which hopefully you’ll find useful.

I appreciate that the circumstances in which we find ourselves at the moment will cause worry. At Barclays we are committed to being responsive to your needs as the situation evolves, and we will continue to be in touch with information and updates.

In the meantime – with best wishes.

Matt Hammerstein
CEO Barclays UK

 

So, if a borrower is unable to work and applies for relief, what will Barclays do? Here are two relevant Q and A’s.

 

Will I be charged interest on my mortgage while the repayment holiday is in place?

Yes, we’ll continue charging interest on your mortgage, and we’ll apply it to your mortgage balance monthly. You will not, however, have to make any payments during the holiday period.

How will this affect my mortgage payment at the end of the holiday period?

We’ll be in touch before your payment holiday ends to tell you what your new monthly payment amount will be and the date when payments will begin again. The amount might be higher than before the repayment holiday started. If you’re worried about paying the new amount, our support team will be able to talk through some options, such as extending your mortgage term to ensure your payment is affordable.

In other words, a “mortgage holiday” means delaying the inevitable payments and probably incurring additional interest charges , which will increase the amount of your monthly payment and/or push out the date on which your mortgage ends.

 

This is what the Danske Bank website says.

Is a payment holiday the right option for me?

A payment holiday is a temporary break from your repayments to help you through these uncertain times.

There are a few things to consider before applying for a payment holiday, to make sure it’s right for your situation:

  • The interest on your mortgage will continue to accrue during the payment holiday.
  • If you have a fixed rate mortgage, there will be no change to your fixed payments after the payment holiday. If you move on to a reversionary rate after your fixed rate period ends, then these payments will be higher than shown in your original mortgage agreement.
  • If you have a variable rate mortgage, like a base rate tracker or if you are on standard variable rate, then the interest accrued will be added to your mortgage and the repayments after the mortgage holiday period will increase as a result.

Please be aware that if you need independent support regarding your mortgage, you can get help from Citizens Advice, Housing Rights NI or other debt counselling agencies.

So, in some circumstances, your payment may not change after the “holiday”. Like Barclays, this offer is not necessarily open to those already in arrears.

The Ulster Bank website is rather more terse.

Here are some things to consider before applying for a payment holiday:

  • At the end of the holiday your monthly payments will be recalculated and you will see an increase in your monthly payments.  We’ll give you an estimate of what that will be before setting up your break
  • The total amount of interest you pay over the term of the mortgage will increase.

 

Let’s remind ourselves of what the government  had to say about this, as the BBC reported it.

And Mr Sunak said that for those in financial difficulty due to coronavirus, mortgage lenders will offer a three-month mortgage holiday.

BBC personal finance correspondent Simon Gompertz said it was important for borrowers to remember that they would have to make up the payments at a later date. 

“The result is that you have some breathing space but when you resume payments the amount will be adjusted to be slightly higher, because the missed interest payments have been added to the loan,” he said. “This doesn’t mean the mortgage holiday is a bad idea.”

 

It would seem that the mortgage holiday is merely a temporary relief, for which the borrower will have to pay. Those already in arrears are unlikely to benefit and those teetering on the brink may find that the new repayments are beyond their reach.

Borrowers should think twice and get advice before going on  a mortgage holiday

Many borrowers have businesses. Again the government promised relief. Here is what the Times reported on 26th March.

 

The government and the banking industry are being urged to revisit the terms of emergency coronavirus loans after some directors were told that they would be personally liable for bank debts underwritten by the taxpayer.

The business department is to talk with lenders to discuss how this burden could be lightened after a backlash over the onerous terms being asked of the owners of small companies.

Yesterday, Royal Bank of Scotland, the biggest banker for small companies, said it would not ask for personal guarantees to secure the loans, putting pressure on other lenders to follow suit.

Under the coronavirus business interruption loan scheme, the state will underwrite 80 per cent of the risk of bank loans of up to £5 million. However, borrowers are liable for the entire debt, as the taxpayer guarantee is purely for the banks’ benefit, intended to give them confidence to lend to businesses that they may otherwise avoid.

Lenders including Barclays and HSBC have been asking directors of companies struggling to stay afloat to sign personal guarantees, as well as to pledge business assets as security.

Second homes and other personal assets also could be at risk. The banks point out that the terms of the scheme mean that they must exhaust all recovery action against borrowers before they can claim on the state guarantee.

The business department is aware of the anger among business owners and officials are due to consult UK Finance, the banking trade body, on the issue.

Kevin Hollinrake, chairman of the all-party parliamentary group on fair business banking, said that the government must issue “clear and direct guidance” that there will be no personal guarantees.

Gina Miller, founding partner of SCM Group, a wealth management firm, and a campaigner for fairer financial services, said: “These personal guarantees are rubbing salt in wounds.”

 

So again, all is not as it seems. Whilst the government is making money available and ‘guaranteeing’ it; the lender will be required to exhaust all steps to recover the money from the borrower before the government guarantee will be operational. Even if the business is not required to give a personal guarantee, only those with the protection of limited liability are likely to  escape proceedings potentially involving their homes and personal property. Even the directors of a limited company could be personally liable in certain situations.

Irish Legal News reported this move by the IOD.

UK: Directors urge government to relax insolvency rules to save businesses

Directors across the UK are asking the government for a temporary indemnity which allows them to keep technically insolvent firms in operation during the coronavirus pandemic without fear of legal action.

Under current legislation, company boards can be sued for failing to wind up a company if it is running out of money and facing insolvency.

The Institute of Directors (IoD) has therefore asked for such rules to be relaxed to prevent viable businesses from collapse to avoid legal consequences.

The Treasury and Bank of England are offering billions of pounds in loans to businesses to counteract the effects of the pandemic, but the IoD said that directors may hesitate to take them “if they believe that, by failing to declare insolvency now, they may face personal financial and legal liabilities at a later date”.

Under the Insolvency Act 1986, directors can be sued for wrongful trading if they do not put a company into administration or liquidation that is later declared insolvent.

Creditors also can issue winding-up petitions to get their money back if they fear it is being wasted keeping the business going.

The IoD urged that in these extraordinary circumstances, boards should be allowed to continue to run their companies even if technically insolvent as a means of maintaining employment levels and preventing a major economic downturn.

It said that firms should not hesitate to seek government support if their business was a viable concern before the onset of the crisis. In this environment, maximising the ability of creditors to recover funds from a struggling entity after a lengthy legal process is not the economic priority.

The institute said: “Of much greater importance is the need for companies right now to maintain their service levels to the general public and support the economic position of their employees.”

The IoD emphasised further, that it would be entirely inappropriate to allow previously viable companies to go under when the proximate cause of their financial distress are the measures demanded by Government – even if they are imposed for the best of reasons. 

Jonathan Geldart, IoD director-general, said: “During the current crisis, directors are facing unprecedented challenges and need to see urgent temporary measures to avert entirely preventable corporate collapses.

“We’re calling on Government to prioritise jobs and the business survival by relaxing existing insolvency obligations put on directors and thereby providing business leaders greater room for manoeuvre at this critical juncture.

“We should not allow a single viable businesses to go to the wall because of this crisis.”

 It will be interesting to see if the government grants any relief.

The present situation prompted this statement from The Prudential Regulation Authority, as reported by the Times, on 26thMarch.

 

Banks can relax procedures for booking bad debt caused by coronavirus so that they can keep lending to businesses and individuals, the regulator has said.

In a “Dear CEO . . .” letter today, the Prudential Regulation Authority said that uncertainty about the impact of coronavirus and the possibility that the economy could bounce back sharply when the pandemic subsides meant that banks did not have to follow normal rules about credit losses.

Among the areas that can be relaxed are covenant breaches and missed payments. The guidance comes as companies are beginning to ask for leeway from their banks. The shopping centre owner Intu Properties warned today that it would breach the terms on its debt commitments after a collapse in rents unless it can secure debt waivers from its lenders.

Sam Woods, the PRA’s chief executive, said in the letter to banking bosses: “These measures are aimed at ensuring that banks are able to continue to lend to households and businesses, support the real economy and provide robust and consistent market disclosures.”

The letter is the most detailed intervention yet by regulators to guide banks over how to apply the IFRS9 accounting standard, which was introduced in 2018. The standard, which requires banks to recognise losses as soon as they start to appear, was created in the aftermath of the financial crisis to force lenders to provide an accurate picture about the state of their books more quickly.

Bankers said, however, that Brexit and now the coronavirus were very difficult to deal with under IFRS9 owing to their uncertain impact. Banks should not classify customers as more likely to default on loans just because they took payment holidays on mortgages or other loans, the PRA said. Instead, banks should take “ well-balanced decisions” based on the likely positive impact of the government’s support measures for the economy and long-term economic trends.

When assessing covenant breaches on loans by businesses, banks should differentiate between “normal” breaches and those occurring because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the PRA said.

Paul Lynam, chief executive of specialist lender Secure Trust, said: “The simple fact is, the vast majority of consumers and businesses were creditworthy and viable before the crisis and will be once the storm has passed. Bellyaching about moral hazards made the last crisis worse and longer. The Treasury and the regulators are to be applauded for their decisiveness and pragmatism, which will undoubtedly make Covid-19 less damaging than would otherwise be the case.”

Mr Woods’ letter follows a communication yesterday from Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, with Andrew Bailey, the Bank of England governor, and Chris Woolard, interim chief executive of the Financial Conduct Authority, urging banks to lend. “This will require a willingness to maintain and extend lending despite the uncertain economic conditions. We must ensure that firms whose business models were viable before the crisis remain viable once it is over,” they said.

The out workings of the financial crash of 2007-08 are still with us. Will Covid-19 add another layer to the present litigation?

 

So, like Noah, we await that dove with the olive leaf.  [Genesis 8:11]

 

 

 

 

 

Who was Willie Frazer?

                                  

In Northern Ireland, nothing is ever as it seems.

Frazer was a leading member of Fair, in Markethill, the epicentre of victims’ groups.

Here is the BBC report from November 2012.

“Willie Frazer, the director of a victims’ group whose funding has been frozen, has said he is stepping down from his role.

A European funding body wants £350,000 which it gave to Fair returned.

Families Acting for Innocent Relatives (Fair) has also had funding from the Office of the First and Deputy First Ministers stopped.

Mr Frazer said on Friday that he was quitting his post because he did not want members of Fair to suffer.”

The issue disappeared. Frazer continued to be a “victims’ campaigner” sometimes acting the maggot, as some would say.

Then , magically, he attracted new funding from you and me.

Arlene Foster  became his new best friend and visited FRPU, an interesting acronym.

Then the Irish News published this.

“19 June, 2019 01:00

FUNDING for a charity linked to loyalist campaigner Willie Frazer has been withdrawn.

The Victims and Survivors Service pulled the cash from the Family Research and Policy Unit (FRPU) last month.

The service provides funding to community and voluntary organisations which deliver “support and services in a wide range of areas including health and wellbeing and advocacy support”.

Until recently the FRPU was based in Markethill in Co Armagh.”

So , apart from being careless with public money, did Willie have any other vices?

BBC Spotlight was less than convincing about their conversations with him but Pastor Barry has weighed in, more less confirming the story. Willie supplied arms to Protestant terrorists.

In 2004 Willie judicially reviewed the state regarding access to legal arms. The case is reported at 2004 NIQB 68.

The judgment contained the following correspondence:

By letter dated 12 May 2003 from the Firearms and Explosives Branch of the Northern Ireland Office the applicant was informed that the Chief Constable had revoked his Firearms Certificate as the applicant was unfit to be in possession of firearms and that:

“He based his decision on a reliable intelligence report that you associated with loyalist terrorist organisations. He considered that your association with these organisations did not arise from your work with FAIR and could not be described as legitimate.”

 

In a response dated 20 May 2003 the applicant [Willie Frazer]  disagreed that there was no specific threat to his life and referred to further evidence supporting such a threat as well as indicating that it was incumbent on the Northern Ireland Office to conduct their own enquiries into the matter. In relation to the alleged terrorist associations the applicant stated:

“Contrary to the rather hollow claims of the Chief Constable I have no links whatsoever with any paramilitary movements.” 

[My underlining]

[41] In a letter dated 2 June 2003 the Secretary of State refused the applicant’s appeal stating:

“(1) You did not need a PPW as Special Branch have advised that you are not the subject

of a specific threat.

(2)You are unfit to have firearms and ammunition as the police have intelligence from a reliable source to

indicate that you have recently associated with loyalist terrorist organisations.”

So in the looking glass world of Northern Ireland, the State, which funded Frazer handsomely, said that he was involved with terrorism, though he was never charged with any such offence.

Frazer  [whose friends would now like him to be remembered as a leader of the fight against republican violence] denied on oath that he had any such links.

Perhaps the answer is to be found in his mysterious escape from sanction when the European money went missing.

Was Willie turned? Was he made an offer by the State? Why did he promise so much and deliver so little? Was he a lightning conductor for protest? Did he involve himself in so many protests in order to report to his masters?

Given the statistics from Stevens and others, it’s odds on that Willie was a tout.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Protestant wind

Since my retirement from the Bar and my ensuing freedom to say what I choose, without the republicans and their fellow travellers in Chichester Street having a go at me, I have pursued the killers of my parents and supported others who have lost loved ones.

Readers of this blog will know that I allege that the State had an involvement in my parents’  murders.

One of our early successes related to  the killing of John Bingham. Bingham was reportedly a loyalist commander. The circumstances of his murder cried out for a proper investigation. One that the RUC did not provide.

When the question ‘why?’ is posed, the State falls silent.

As a result of dogged work by others, Operation Kenova has now sent a file on this murder to the PPS.

Our allegation was that the killing was carried out by republicans, some or all of whom were State agents. We further alleged that the State covered up the circumstances of the killing.

The matter is now the subject of a file within the PPS. State sponsored killings are particularly repulsive and  formerly have been regarded as the province of South American dictators.

But there are more worrying aspects. And we should not rest on our laurels.

Three lawyers, employees and agents of the Crown,  have been reported for prosecution for perjury. You can read more about this in the Guardian and two articles written by Henry McDonald.

This must cause concern about the probity of any case in which these lawyers had an input.

Jon Boutcher has often , to me and to others, used the phrase ‘boiling the sea’.

By this I understand him to mean that the extent of alleged State involvement in crime during the Troubles is massive.

Boutcher has presented the PPS, [within whose walls some alleged criminals may reside, or at one time may have resided] with a small number of files.

If he has information that the nexus between terrorists and the State goes much further, his duty is to present that evidence to the Chief Constable and his duty is to conduct further investigations.

BBC Spotlight has brought into the public domain some of the material that many of us have known about for many years.

The republican movement, SFIRA, the Finucane Centre, Relatives for Justice, Sean Murray , Trevor Birney and his republican mate, are all silent.

But there is a bigger picture. James Sefton was targeted and killed by republicans for reasons other than his service with the RUC. By 1990 PIRA was not only riddled with agents and informers but also well surveilled by hardware.

This took the form of cameras, listening devices, satellites, computers and other technology  still in use in updated formats all over the world. The State knows precisely who killed him and my mother. It hold this information secretly, guarded by the spooks and probably corrupt lawyers and police officers.

Now the door is ajar. Let’s kick it down. The roll call of senior  republican figures is , at least:

Adams

McGuinness

Bobby Storey

Spike Murray [father of Sean Murray, the ‘film maker’]

Brian Gillen

Sean Maguire

They were employed  by the State and were participating informants in murders and other serious crimes relating to police officers, politicians and other innocent civilians.

The phrase “Protestant Wind”  refers to the storm that scattered the Spanish Armada and  the wind that propelled William of Orange to Torbay.

It is now starting to cleanse Northern Ireland of the canker of State murder of its own citizens

Making a living from the peace process

Kenny Donaldson appeared on BBC Radio Ulster  Evening Extra on Friday 30thAugust.

The principal reason for his interview was in relation to the re-appointment of Judith Thompson as Victims’ Commissioner.

Leaving aside the car crash interview which he gave [ more on a future blog] he said this: “ a lot of people are paid as a result of the peace process, their livings [sic] depend on it”.

The point being made  was not immediately obvious.

Was he criticising those people? Was he expressing concern that if the peace process broke down , they would no longer be paid?

Perhaps a clue is to be found in an exchange he and I had in May of this year, where , out of the blue, he accused me of stating that he earned money out of victims. I asked him for proof of where I had made this allegation but his reply was:

“play your smart lawyer tricks with someone else..a small number of people are obsessed with money, most are not. Unsure what camp you are in”.

So let’s analyse that. I have never applied for nor received any money from the Victims and Survivors Service, which doles it out on behalf of the Executive Office.

Let’s look at South East Fermanagh Foundation, company number  NI 606566.

It has filed accounts to 31stMarch 2018. SEFF’s income from grants was £762,360. It is set to receive £705,903 in the current financial year.

Undoubtedly good works are done down there. Macramé, bus runs, musical evenings.

So how many people are employed? The answer is ten.

How much do they earn? Well, the individual salaries are not listed . But here is the interesting thing. These ten people cost the taxpayer, you and me , £348.000 in the last financial year. How much did ten people cost in the previous year? £173,000.

So why did the wage bill for the same number of employees at SEFF double in one year?

Perhaps Kenny Donaldson knows the answer.

Meanwhile we have the ridiculous spectacle of one state paid individual , Donaldson, criticising another, Thompson, for not doing her job.

Twice asked by the interviewer “will you work with her?’ , twice Donaldson failed to answer.

Is it because his living depends on the peace process?

Soon , Dear Reader, I will blog about the victims’ legislation.

Stay solvent!

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Brief affair with Simon Byrne

                         

Dear Reader! If you have ‘issues’ or are of a nervous disposition, go no further!

Only a few weeks ago, Fat George, the NIO placeman/policeman, vacated his post and in came  Simon Byrne.

Thrusting, opinionated and unemployed, he was an ideal choice for Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

Nonetheless, I would hear no ill spoken of him . This ex chief constable of Cheshire Constabulary is known for his firm management style, which is totally different from bullying.

I was enraptured by the idea of a dynamic Chief Constable, after George’s size 40 waist.

Simon’s was 38 at the most…

Perhaps I was carried away. I don’t know, to be truthful…..

Anyway, he arrived and he was on Twitter! Oh Joy!

I followed him!

And he followed me back!  No Chief Constable had ever done that before…

It was because he paid me attention, I think…

So, emboldened, I sent him a direct message on 14thJuly and I said this:

“The murders of James and Ellen Sefton remain unsolved. Your officers assert that there is no intelligence touching upon their killings. This is untrue. You have an opportunity to change the picture by being candid about the true extent of the involvement of State actors. Will you help?”

My delicate young heart beat more swiftly , while waiting for a response.

None there came.

Disgracefully, I prostrated my heart and reached out again to this English Alpha Male.

I said, on 20thJuly, rather lamely: “disappointed that you have not replied”.

Still he did not reply, though he had read both messages.

Am I a fool to myself?

I refuse to believe these seventy four allegations against him were ever true. I’m sure that there is an explanation and that   he is out there for me and that some day my Chief Constable will come and tell me the truth.

 

Simon?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sir Anthony Hart Q.C.

Tony Hart Q. C. died today.

I came to the Bar in 1983 and shortly after , I attended a Bar dinner at Malone House.  Tony was at my table. Having just taken Silk , he was in good form and excellent company.

He  attended Portora Royal School and Trinity College and  came to Belfast to study for his Bar exams. He told me that he took digs in the north of the city near Belfast Royal Academy. He was an accomplished rower and kept up the interest long after he stopped participating.

I got to know him better when he became Recorder of Londonderry. Fearsome to those who were unprepared, he was a scrupulously fair man .

Our paths crossed often. From a hard fought discrimination case in Londonderry to R v Howell and Stewart in Coleraine, he was , almost always, a model of what a judge should be.

The late John Cushnahan and I had endured a contentious Crown Court trial. The accused appealed. John could not do the appeal. His replacement phoned me on the Sunday before the hearing. “I’ve read the transcript, Tony forgot to remind the jury about the standard of proof”. I’ve no doubt that was because of the mayhem of the three way fight that was going on. I made my best efforts in front of their Lordships but a new trial was ordered.

In the Howell and Stewart trial he was  at the top of his form. His directions to the jury were bomb proof. He said to them “ask yourselves this question, were they in it together?” They jury agreed that they were.

Crown counsel sometimes had access to the judge’s chambers for entirely appropriate reasons. In private conversations, he often praised my opponent , only minutes after giving them a severe time.

He was kind to me, providing me with references , when asked. He entrusted his daughter to me , for work experience.

Someone organised a memorial lunch for the late Judge Foote. I suspect the late John Creaney. It was held in Nick’s Warehouse [where else?] Also present were me, Malachy Higgins. Donnell Deeney’s brother and a few others. After some refreshments, the topic of Restorative Justice was raised. I asked Tony if , under this system , he would be ‘An Recorder’ or the ‘Continuity Recorder’. His reply was “Bar Library humour can be patchy”.

Tony was a model of what it was to be a public servant. His management of HIA was exemplary after the pigs’ trough of Bloody Sunday.  He wrote the definitive history of the Bar in Northern Ireland.

He dedicated it to :

“the memory of those members of the Inn of Court of Northern Ireland who lost their lives upholding the rule of law”

That would be Tony.

I offer my condolences to his family.

 

Lyra McKee

I’ve waited some time before putting pen to paper.

The death of a young woman, not much older than my daughter, is hard.

Murder is harder still.

When I got the news, at two in the morning, I did not sleep again that night.

I was introduced to Lyra about five years ago.There could be be fewer similarities.

I met this small, owlish, slightly diffident girl, in a Victoria Square coffee shop. She met a grumpy old man , with issues and a background. She had many difficulties with technology, which we laughed about. She was softly spoken, and I’m slightly deaf.

I was hoping that she could introduce me to contacts that might progress my enquiries into the murders of my parents. This she did.

Despite the disparity in our ages and in our experience of the world, she dispensed sage advice about me and my predicament.  She was no amateur. That is the thing I  remember  most about that meeting.

When I subsequently learned about her origins and her personal circumstances,  I was doubly impressed. She was born, not far from my parents’ home, three years before the birth of my daughter.

We kept in touch. She told me about the bullying tactics of Alison Morris, of the Irish News and of other state inspired pressure.

I disagreed with her about the campaign for equal rights. I told her how my generation, children of the Sixties, supported rights for all but were unimpressed by constant marches and the way in which they were  garishly supported. We agreed to differ.

She would ring me and call me “Sefton”, often the calls were random and from a variety of phones. She had a particular interest in the abuse of children, from wherever it derived.

We discussed all sorts of issues. She was, like me, a champion of the underdog.

Neither of us had much time for organised religion. I suppose she found my distrust and dislike of the establishment,  bizarre in a sixty something Prod.

We met a number of times, thereafter.

I followed her life and her new relationship in a bewildered fashion, appropriate to my age.

I suppose I imagined that somewhere, along the road, we would meet again to discuss some new angle that she was pursuing.

That never happened.

She was , like my mother , Ellen, the victim of random republican violence.

I mourn her life. I offer my condolences to her mother,  of whom she spoke fondly and to Ava , whom she adored and to all her family.

If it is appropriate  to add something, it is this. Where shall we find another? Where is there another fearless, disadvantaged, Catholic, gay , female journalist , not in the pocket of the state?

It is no exaggeration to say that , in that regard  it is unlikely that we shall never see her like again.

Once I learned that her funeral was to be in St Anne’s , I determined not to attend. I have been down the road of the NIO funeral.

I preferred to remember her, in my own way.

Lyra’s legacy will not be some sea change to politics here.

I’m hoping that it will be this: that  some young people will  simply take up the challenge and write honestly about our lives.