Belfast Telegraph

Suzanne Breen: Pathetic New IRA statement did not offer one ounce of comfort to any one

Helen Deery
Helen Deery
Suzanne Breen

By Suzanne Breen

The New IRA's statement on the killing of Lyra McKee fell shamefully short of the words that were needed.

This was merely a paramilitary group going through the motions rather than one showing any true and heartfelt remorse.

It did not offer an ounce of comfort to those who loved Lyra.

It failed to throw any light or understanding on what happened on the streets of the Creggan last Thursday that led to a 29-year-old woman's life being brutally snatched from her.

The hypocrisy of those republicans, who are so expert at demanding truth and transparency from everyone else, has been laid bare.

The New IRA statement dressed up what was a pathetic display by toy soldiers - totally out of their depth and pretending to be real ones - as a bold engagement with 'the enemy'.

That it effectively engaged in victim-blaming was low.

"Lyra McKee was tragically killed while standing beside enemy forces," it said.

This was not a case of an embedded journalist who knew the risks of what they were doing.

This was not a reporter behaving recklessly in a war zone.

Lyra McKee was standing well back from the rioters with others, including a 14-year-old girl.

She would never have expected that a lunatic would fire from long range at an armoured Land Rover with a handgun.

In similar situations, previous IRAs have fired shots in the air. But this one decided to play Russian roulette with the lives of working-class nationalists in the Creggan, those it then bizarrely claims to have been defending that night.

This delusional nonsense was seen in a statement from the dissident party Saoradh at the weekend welcoming the release of two teenagers who had been questioned by the PSNI about Lyra's killing.

"Regardless of the gravity of what transpired, kidnapping innocent youths away from their families is unjustifiable," Saoradh said.

Kidnapping, really? Is that an accurate description of arrests where those detained (rightly) had access to solicitors and had their police interviews recorded?

The sole use of emotive language was pointedly not in connection with the most terrible wrong committed, the gravest human rights abuse, the taking of a young and innocent life.

Lyra McKee was someone who believed in justice for the Bloody Sunday families.

She thought the world of Kate and Linda Nash whose 19 year-old brother Willie was shot dead by the Paratroopers in 1972.

She spoke so highly of Helen Deery whose 15-year-old brother Manus was killed by the British Army four months later.

Online, Helen rounded on Lyra's killers. "I've cried more in the last few days than I have in years," she said. "Lyra was smart, sassy, geeky and quirky, and deeply so very beautiful". And she added: 'Not in my name'.

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