Northern Ireland news

Lyra McKee murder: Independent republican councillor Gary Donnelly calls on 'New IRA' to end all attacks

Independent republican councillor Gary Donnelly
Seamus McKinney

One of the public faces of the dissident republican movement has called on the New IRA to stop all attacks.

Gary Donnelly, an independent republican councillor in Derry, has issued unprecedented criticism of those responsible for the killing of Lyra McKee.

Mr Donnelly, a former spokesman for the 32 County Sovereignty Movement, has repeatedly refused to condemn dissident republican violence.

However, in a post on social media, he said: “An innocent woman is dead because of a reckless act. This is wrong and my thoughts like the thoughts of this entire community are with her loved ones. I would plead with those behind this attack to desist from any further attacks and seriously consider the consequences of their actions.”

Contacted by the Irish News yesterday, Mr Donnelly declined to elaborate on his apparent ceasefire call.

Undated family handout photo of 29-year-old journalist Lyra McKee who was shot and killed when guns were fired and petrol bombs were thrown in Derry

His house in the Creggan area of Derry was yesterday the scene of a hoax bomb alert, although police said they did not believe it was connected to the murder.

Meanwhile, it was announced last night that Ms McKee’s funeral would be held at St Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast on Wednesday.

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Her partner Sara Canning said Ms McKee "would love it" if people "would like to wear Hufflepuff, Harry Potter, or Marvel related items" at the service.

Ms McKee was born in Belfast and attended the former St Gemma's High School in the city, but had been living in Derry.

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Two teenagers, aged 18 and 19, who were arrested under anti-terrorism legislation on Saturday in connection with the murder, were released without charge last night.

A message of condolence for 29-year-old journalist Lyra McKee which has been graffittied on to Free Derry Corner. Picture by Joe Boland/PA Wire 

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