Belfast Telegraph

Dissident republican Easter parade 'a kick in the teeth,' says Lyra McKee friend

Latest terror group apology attempt to 'soften blow' of commemoration plan

Lyra McKee
Lyra McKee
Donna Deeney

By Donna Deeney

One of Lyra McKee's closest friends has called on people in Londonderry to stay away from a dissident republican Easter commemoration planned just days before the first anniversary of the murdered journalist's death.

Kathleen Bradley described as "a kick in the teeth" plans by the National Republican Commemoration Committee - close associates of the dissident group Saoradh - to stage its Easter commemoration on April 13 in Derry.

She said she believes the "apology" from the IRA issued days ago was an attempt to soften attitudes to this parade.

While the route has not yet been published it may pass close to where Ms McKee was fatally wounded by a dissident gunman on April 18, last year.

Ms Bradley said: "We can now see what their apology was really about - it was their attempt to soften the blow of this parade taking place in Derry.

"As one of Lyra's closest friends in this city - this city where she found her partner, lived and planned to stay - I would call on people to stay away from this parade.

"The feedback that we have received from the people in Derry is that groups like the IRA and Saoradh are not wanted and people do not accept that these groups are out acting on their behalf.

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"If they had any genuine remorse for what happened last year, they would call off this march - not just this year but every Easter because in two years time Easter Monday will fall on April 18 the actual date of Lyra's murder.

"I don't believe there is even an ounce of humanity in them and for them not to have their actions of last year at the forefront of what they are planning this year is sickening."

Two years ago a parade organised by the National Republican Commemoration Committee marched from Free Derry Corner in the Bogside area to the city cemetery to anti-agreement republican plot.

The violence that cost Lyra McKee her life last year came after a locally organised parade march from Creggan to the same burial plot.

In a defiant statement, a spokesman for the National Republican Commemoration Committee said: “We are proud to host it in Derry.

“Previous years have been successful with Derry being a major success in 2017.

“At this stage we don’t have a confirmed route, once this is established it will be announced.”

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