Belfast Telegraph

Saoradh posters in Derry warning of dangers of fireworks branded 'sickening'

Dolores Kelly of the SDLP (Liam McBurney/PA)
Dolores Kelly of the SDLP (Liam McBurney/PA)
Mark Edwards

By Mark Edwards

An MLA has described as "sickening" posters erected in Londonderry by a political party understood to be linked to the New IRA warning about the dangers of fireworks.

The posters, erected by Saoradh in Derry, warn about the dangers of the use of fireworks in the city.

The poster reads "use your head, or lose your hand. Don't mess with fireworks!"

The PSNI have previously stated that Saoradh is the political wing for dissident republican terrorist group the New IRA.

However, Saoradh has repeatedly denied the suggestion it is linked with the New IRA, which accepted responsibility for the murder of 29-year-old journalist Lyra McKee in April. The New IRA also carried out a car bomb attack at a courthouse in Derry in January 2019.

SDLP justice spokesperson Dolores Kelly MLA said: “Earlier this year a young journalist was murdered on the streets of Derry by those intent on creating chaos and division.

"It is frankly sickening that supporters of those who arm vulnerable young people with guns and petrol bombs are now warning about the dangers of fireworks. It defies belief and it’s an insult to those who have come under attack.

“This is a disgusting double standard from individuals posing as normal community organisation. They are not.

"Let their spokespeople come out today and condemn petrol bomb attacks on the police. Let them condemn those shooting people under the cover of darkness.

“They have no concern for people's safety. And everyone sees through them."

Saoradh declined to comment on Mrs Kelly's comments when contacted by the Belfast Telegraph.

Stephen Martin, deputy chief constable of PSNI, told Sky News in August that he has no doubt about the link between Saoradh and the New IRA.

"There are people who are members of Saoradh who are members of the New IRA and some of them are in leadership positions in the New IRA," he said.

"So there is that inextricable link between the two organisations," he added.

Meanwhile, the Derry Journal has apologised after publishing Saoradh's contact details with a statement from the party encouraging anyone with concerns regarding "anti-community activity" to contact Saoradh representatives.

In a statement published on the newspaper's Twitter account, a spokesperson said: "In light of the upset caused by the publication of a statement by Saoradh in Tuesday's edition of the 'Journal' the paper would like to apologise unreservedly.

"The publication of the statement was an error of judgment and will not be repeated."

A Saoradh spokesman, responding to the Derry Journal's apology, said: "Saoradh have strong community support and this continues to grow. No amount of censorship will distract or stop Saoradh from our genuine community activism or our Republican politics, something we have demonstrated since our formation.

"Maybe this is what career puppet politicians like Dolores Kelly, Colum Eastwood and their fading party are truly concerned about."

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