In Brief

Lyra McKee: New IRA apologises for shooting of journalist

Dissident republicans admit responsibility for Derry killing and vows 'utmost care' in future

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The New IRA has admitted responsibility for the killing of journalist Lyra McKee, which it describes as a case of accidental cross-fire.

The 29-year-old reporter was shot in the head on Thursday night while covering rioting in Londonderry's Creggan estate.

Using a recognised code word, the New IRA offered “full and sincere apologies” to McKee’s family and friends, in a statement given to The Irish News.

“In the course of attacking the enemy Lyra McKee was tragically killed while standing beside enemy forces,” the paramilitary group said.

The statement added: “We have instructed our volunteers to take the utmost care in future when engaging the enemy, and put in place measures to help ensure this.”

McKee’s death has united the normally polarised Northern Irish political scene, with “ordinary people in Derry expressing shock and revulsion at the killing” and politicians from loyalist and republican factions condemning the violence, The Guardian reports.

Sinn Féin’s deputy leader, Michelle O’Neill, said: “The murder of this young woman is a human tragedy for her family, but it is also an attack on all the people of this community, an attack on our peace process and an attack on the Good Friday agreement.”

Yesterday, McKee’s friends staged a protest outside the Derry offices of Saoradh, a republican party that reflects New IRA thinking. Several protesters smeared red handprints on the walls.

Tributes have been paid to McKee, who was catapulted into the public eye following a 2014 blog called Letter To My 14-Year-Old Self in which she spoke about the struggle of growing up gay in Belfast. The blog was later turned into a short film. In 2016, Forbes Magazine named her one of their “30 under 30 in media”.

Two men in their late teens who had been arrested over the killing were released without charge on Sunday. The investigation continues.

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