Belfast Telegraph

Editor's Viewpoint: New IRA 'apology' as pathetic as their 'war'

A floral tribute to Lyra McKee
A floral tribute to Lyra McKee

Editor's Viewpoint

It is difficult to imagine a more mealy-mouthed, self-serving excuse for an apology than that issued by the New IRA over the death of journalist Lyra McKee.

Part of it read: "In the course of attacking the enemy Lyra McKee was tragically killed while standing beside enemy forces". It went on to accuse the PSNI of provoking the riot and that the organisation's members were deployed to engage the police.

This simply amounts to the New IRA saying they set out to shoot a police officer but shot Lyra instead, not by mistake but by sheer incompetence and recklessness.

At the time the gunman appeared and shot nervously at police lines, the area was packed with onlookers - as what happens when riots occur. Anyone could have been killed and sadly it was Lyra who will be buried today.

It goes on to suggest that the New IRA's gunmen and bombers will be more careful in future when attempting to kill someone.

Do they imagine that anyone with the slightest sanity in Northern Ireland will buy this apology?

Do they think this excuses the inexcusable or justifies them continuing a terrorist campaign whose only endgame is more sorrow, possibly more deaths, and certainly more self-serving excuses.

We had 30 years of such comments from republican terrorists during the Troubles when even more savage acts were visited on the innocent people of Northern Ireland.

They were not acceptable then and they are not acceptable now that the baton of physical force republicanism has been taken up by dissidents who have little or no support, and absolutely no standing in the community.

The apology deservedly has been derided by all sections of the community who recognise it for what it is and those who issued it for what they are - nihilistic terrorists.

Credit is due to Lyra's friends who have shown their abhorrence of this despicable killing through their blood red hands protest. That is the sort of blood red lines we should all be telling the terrorists we will never waver on - their campaign will never be acceptable.

Also, the political parties that have been absent from devolved government since January 2017 should now engage in talks about filling the political void and creating policies which will deliver some of the promise of the Good Friday Agreement. We need to seize the future from the paramilitaries and deliver the promises that Lyra wished for.

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