Belfast Telegraph

Slain IRA man’s sister lashes out at Saoradh over Facebook picture

Ursula Duddy holds a picture of her brother Jim Gallagher
Ursula Duddy holds a picture of her brother Jim Gallagher
The photograph of Jim Gallagher that was posted to Saoradh’s Facebook page
Donna Deeney

By Donna Deeney

The sister of an IRA man shot dead by the Army more than 40 years ago has criticised Saoradh for using an image of her brother on its Facebook page without the family's permission.

Ursula Duddy called members of the dissident republican group "apologists for murder" after a picture of her brother, Londonderry man Jim Gallagher, appeared online on the anniversary of his killing, along with a message calling him a "comrade".

After seeing the post, Mrs Duddy contacted Saoradh, which is based at Junior McDaid House in Derry, to demand it be taken down.

She also made clear her family's distaste for everything the organisation, which is linked to the New IRA - the group responsible for the murder of journalist Lyra McKee - stands for.

While the post was removed by Facebook after an avalanche of complaints from Mrs Duddy's family and friends, it remains on the website of Saoradh's Derry group despite the calls for it to be taken down.

Mrs Duddy called the group "poundshop republicans" and said the vast majority of people in Derry had no time for them.

"As soon as I became aware of the post on Saoradh's Facebook, I was enraged and shocked because I didn't want my brother's memory or our family being associated with these poundshop republicans," she added. "I asked all my friends and family to contact Facebook and complain, and Facebook did remove the post, but then I discovered it was still on the Junior McDaid website.

"I sent them a private message, which I can see they saw, demanding the post be taken down, but they have ignored our wishes.

"I then posted a public comment making our family's feelings clear.

"On one hand they say they are honouring my brother, but they are dishonouring our entire family by ignoring our demands to remove this post.

"We as the Gallagher family want the whole of Derry to know that we have no affiliation with Junior McDaid House, Saoradh or the New IRA. We never have and we never will.

"We stand with the people of Derry and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the partner of Lyra McKee, Sara, and with her grieving family and friends," she said.

"We feel like the rest of the people in Derry - we want these people to go away and we want no part of what they stand for.

"We all want peace and I want to state strongly that our entire family totally back the peace process. We want to move forward and want no part of a backward-thinking group who want to take us back to the hell of the Troubles."

Mrs Duddy was scathing of not only the way she and her family have been treated by Saoradh, but also of the way the group tried to intimidate Lyra McKee's friends in the days following her death.

"The Ireland that these men think they are fighting for was built on the shoulders of strong women," she said.

"They embarrassed themselves by the way they treated Lyra McKee's friends when they made their protest in the days after her murder.

"They stood with their arms folded and threw intimidating looks at a group of women who in their protest were capturing the thoughts of all of us.

"Their actions betrayed their real feelings about what happened to Lyra because if they were truly sorry, they would have stayed inside and hung their heads in shame."

Junior McDaid House could not be reached for comment.

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