Editor's Viewpoint: Terrorism belongs in waste bin of history
Just when people think the New IRA murderers of journalist Lyra McKee could not sink any lower, they do.
During an interview with a Sunday newspaper a typically-unnamed "spokesman" for the dissident republican group said the atrocity "let the world know there is an ongoing conflict".
It is difficult to imagine anything more callous at a time when the dead woman's mother, partner and wider family are still trying to come to terms with their dreadful loss.
East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell is right when he describes the comments as "sick and twisted".
Lyra's close friend Ann Travers, whose sister Mary was murdered by the Provisional IRA, speaks for all of us when she says the comments "show a lack of humanity that they can take a human life like that... the fact that they can say that their actions to murder are symbolic shows the measure of their absolute insanity".
It might seem little comfort to note, as was also reported at the weekend, that Saoradh, seen as the Real IRA's political wing, is being evicted by their landlord in Derry.
It can be viewed as a small step towards the long overdue consigning of the dissidents' bloodlust to the waste bin of history.
Please log in or register with belfasttelegraph.co.uk for free access to this article.
In an interview in today's paper Anthony McIntyre, the former IRA activist, who served 18 years for the murder of a UVF man in 1976, does not try to minimise his terrorist past.
McIntyre, a good friend of Lyra, is now a writer and blogger, and his view of the New IRA is worth quoting: "In spite of the fact that many people in the IRA were interested in idealism and social justice, it violated more rights than it could assert. For that reason the IRA was wrong.
"The New IRA's physical force, when everything else is shaken down, says: 'We have the right to kill you and you have no right not to be killed by us.' That is a serious mental aberration and should have no standing."
McIntyre believes republicans should be allowed to honour their dead, but finds it "obnoxious" that floral tributes to the 18 paratroopers killed at Narrow Water should be vandalised.
Where McIntyre differs significantly from the nameless Real IRA spokesman is that he refuses to be a prisoner of the past. Were more people to share this clear appreciation of when to let the past go, we might then perhaps say that Lyra McKee was the last victim of that fascist ideology.