Woman arrested over killing of Northern Ireland journalist

Woman arrested over killing of Northern Ireland journalist

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April 23, 2019 20:24:34

Northern Ireland Police have arrested a woman in connection with the slaying of journalist Lyra McKee.

Key points:

  • The group that has apologised for one of its “volunteers” killing McKee is the largest IRA splinter group
  • The group said McKee was “standing beside enemy forces”, referring to police
  • The riots during which McKee was killed started after police raids in a nationalist area

The 57-year-old’s arrest came as an Irish Republican Army splinter group admitted one of its “volunteers” killed McKee, who was shot dead while reporting on rioting in Londonderry.

In a statement issued on Tuesday to the Irish News, the New IRA offered “full and sincere” apologies to McKee’s family and friends.

The group said the 29-year-old journalist was killed “while standing beside enemy forces” — a reference to the police.

Authorities believe one person pulled the trigger, during the chaotic rioting that began on Thursday night, and that they had organisational support.

The use of a firearm apparently aimed at police marks an escalation in sporadic violence that continues to plague Northern Ireland 21 years after the Good Friday peace agreement was signed.

The IRA and most other militant groups have disarmed since the 1998 peace accord.

The New IRA has since formed from splinter groups.

It rejects the peace agreement that marked the IRA’s embrace of a political solution to the long-running violence known as The Troubles that claimed more than 3,700 lives.

The group is also blamed for a Londonderry car bombing that did not cause any injuries in January.

It is regarded as the largest of the splinter dissident groups still operating and has been linked to several other killings in the past decade.

Police raids sparked violent riots

The riot followed a pattern familiar to those who lived through the worst years of violence in Northern Ireland.

It began after police arrived in the city’s Creggan neighbourhood to search for weapons and dissidents.

Police said they were in the Irish nationalist area trying to prevent militant attacks during the Easter weekend.

At least 50 petrol bombs were thrown and two cars were set on fire.

Police were barraged with petrol bombs and other flying objects before someone wearing a black mask appeared, fired shots and fled.

No officers were struck by the bullets but McKee, who had been trying to film the riot on her phone, was hit.

The journalist was rushed to a nearby hospital in a police car but died.

On Saturday two men were arrested over her killing but were later released.

McKee remembered at vigil

Grieving friends and top officials gathered to remember McKee, who had written about how she looked forward to “better times ahead and saying goodbye to bombs and bullets once and for all” a year after moving to Londonderry.

McKee was described in an outpouring of tributes as an intelligent, talented writer who brought a human touch to difficult subjects.

Her partner, Sara Canning, said she had been planning to grow old with a woman whose hopes, dreams and amazing potential were “snuffed out in a single barbaric act”.










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