LONDON, April 23, 2019 (BSS/AFP) – Dissident republican group the New IRA
on Tuesday admitted responsibility for killing Northern Irish journalist Lyra
McKee during rioting in Londonderry last week, in a statement to The Irish
The New IRA “offer our full and sincere apologies to the partner, family
and friends of Lyra McKee for her death”, it said in a statement reported by
the Irish newspaper, which said the paramilitary group used a recognised
McKee, 29, was shot in the head late Thursday as dissident republicans
clashed with police in the Creggan housing estate in Northern Ireland’s
second city, also known as Derry.
While admitting responsibility, the New IRA attempted to justify its
actions by claiming she was killed during an attack on “enemy forces” and
accused police of provoking the riot which preceded her death.
“In the course of attacking the enemy Lyra McKee was tragically killed
while standing beside enemy forces,” the statement said.
“On Thursday night, following an incursion on the Creggan by heavily armed
British crown forces which provoked rioting, the IRA deployed our volunteers
to engage,” the New IRA statement said, according to The Irish News.
In the wake of her death, Northern Ireland’s six main political parties —
including rival unionists and republicans who have been unable to form a
devolved government for more than two years — issued a rare joint statement.
“It was a pointless and futile act to destroy the progress made over the
last 20 years, which has the overwhelming support of people everywhere,” it
The killing, the latest upsurge in violence to shake the troubled region,
came in the run-up to Easter weekend, when republicans opposed to the British
presence in Northern Ireland mark the anniversary of a 1916 uprising against
A car-bombing and the hijacking of two vans in Londonderry earlier this
year were also blamed on a dissident paramilitary group.
The 1998 Good Friday peace deal largely brought an end to three decades of
sectarian bloodshed between republican and unionist paramilitaries, as well
as British armed forces, in a period known as “the Troubles”.
Some 3,500 people were killed in the conflict — many at the hands of the
Irish Republican Army (IRA).
The group called a final ceasefire in 1997 and announced an end to its
armed campaign in 2005, stating that it would seek to achieve its aims
through peaceful political means. The New IRA is one of a number of dissident
republican paramilitary groups opposed to the shift towards non-violent
tactics to bring about a united Ireland.
There have been concerns that paramilitaries could be seeking to exploit
the current political turbulence over Northern Ireland and its border with
the Republic of Ireland caused by Brexit.