Belfast Telegraph

Saoradh evicted from Derry headquarters by disgusted owners

By Gillian Halliday

A group believed to be the political wing of the New IRA has been ordered to leave its Londonderry office, where friends of murdered journalist Lyra McKee staged a protest last week.

Saoradh, which has the support of the New IRA and has claimed responsibility for the killing of the 29-year-old, has been issued with an eviction notice from Junior McDaid House.

The development, reported by the Sunday Life, comes amid a growing public backlash against Saoradh in the wake of Ms McKee's murder which took place amid rioting in the Creggan area of Derry on April 18.

The New IRA said one of its gunmen had been aiming at police during the disturbances when he fatally hit Lyra.

Within days of the killing friends of Ms McKee defaced Junior McDaid House, which is also home to the Irish Republican Prisoners Association, by putting handprints on the building's walls in red paint.

The handprints have become an online symbol of protest by supporters of the murdered journalist.

Saoradh declined to comment on its eviction, although the building's owners confirmed the eviction notice had been issued via their letting agents.

Tracey Murray, who owns the building with her husband Martin, described the killing of Ms McKee as devastating.

She told the Sunday Life: "Nobody condones what an organisation like that does, it's disgusting. When you hear of a young woman losing her life, it's heartbreaking."

Last week social media accounts for the Derry-based faction of the dissident republican-linked group were also suspended.

The Facebook accounts of the Dublin, Armagh and Belfast Saoradh offices remain online, although many of the posts are now filled with comments referencing the death of Ms McKee.

There had also been recent calls for Saoradh, which means liberation in Irish, to be banned from staging an Easter Rising commemoration in Glasgow.

UUP leader Robin Swann had called on the Lord Provost, the SNP's Eva Bolander, to take steps to prevent Saoradh from taking part in the event. While an event went ahead on Saturday, it was met by a counter-protest and there were six arrests.

A wreath-laying ceremony to mark the Easter Rising at a Glasgow cemetery appears to have been abandoned.

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