Belfast Telegraph

Pro-IRA graffiti appears near scene of Lyra McKee's murder

The graffiti scrawled on the side of a community centre in Derry
The graffiti scrawled on the side of a community centre in Derry
Leona O'Neill

By Leona O'Neill

Graffiti celebrating the IRA and threatening people who give information about the murder of Lyra McKee to the police has appeared in Londonderry.

The words 'IRA aren't done', 'Undefeated Army 2019', and 'Unfinished Revolution' was painted on a fence on Central Drive.

Across the road, scrawled on the side of a community centre, were the words 'IRA here to stay', alongside 'informers will be executed'.

The graffiti appeared two weeks after the murder of 29-year-old Ms McKee, who was shot dead by a group calling itself the New IRA.

After the shocking killing, local people painted over and defaced dissident republican murals and slogans.

On Wednesday night more than 1,000 people joined together in song and remembrance of Lyra in the Guildhall in a special Sing For Peace event.

But hours later the graffiti was scrawled on walls yards from where she died.

DUP MLA Gary Middleton said: "It is deeply troubling that this graffiti has appeared. It is disgraceful.

"It is clear that the community do not want to be associated with this graffiti and indeed that was made very clear after the murder of Lyra McKee.

"The community themselves took action and that sent a very different message out that the activities of these people, who want to cause harm in the community, were finished.

"I genuinely believe that the words are not reflective of that community. People right across the city will want to distance themselves from this."

Kevin Campbell, a Sinn Fein councillor and Creggan resident, said: "It's an absolute insult to the memory of Lyra McKee, who was murdered by these people."

Mr Campbell said he did not believe the graffiti would deter people from coming forward.

"People see these gangs for what they are - they aren't republicans, they are filth, and people recognise that," he added.

PSNI Superintendent Alan Hutton appealed for information. "Police in Derry/Londonderry are aware of graffiti in Central Drive in Creggan, including slogans which appear to have been spray-painted onto the wall of a building," he said. "We are also aware of signs that have been erected on lampposts."

He urged anyone who knows who is responsible to contact police at Strand Road on the non-emergency number 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Meanwhile, dissident republic group Saoradh has insisted that it "did not and does not speak on behalf of the Irish Republican Army".

"Saoradh was roundly attacked in the media and by the political aristocracy so," the organisation said.

"Quickly a public discourse was built up accusing Saoradh and its activists for Lyra's death.

"Saoradh played no role in the events that led to the death of Lyra McKee.

"Saoradh is an open and publicly accessible political party.

"Though we offer an analysis on armed actions in the pursuit of Irish national liberation, Saoradh does not engage in armed struggle."

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