Northern Ireland news

Saoradh headquarters searched in Lyra McKee murder probe

Police investigating the murder of Lyra McKee removed a number of items following a search of dissident republican political party, Saoradh's headquarters in Derry yesterday. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin
Seamus McKinney

Police investigating the New IRA murder of journalist Lyra McKee have carried out a search at the headquarters of dissident republican political group, Saoradh.

No arrests were made, however, police removed a number of items from Junior McDaid House at Chamberlain Street in Derry yesterday morning. The premises, on the edge of the city's Bogside, is home to Saoradh, its youth wing, Eistigí and a republican prisoners' support organisation.

Ms McKee (29) died after she was shot in the head by a New IRA gunman who fired indiscriminately into a crowd of people standing beside a PSNI Land Rover during a riot in Derry's Creggan on April 18.

In the days after Ms McKee's death, Saoradh became a focus of public anger with friends of the dead woman staging a protest at Junior McDaid House by painting red hand prints on the walls of the building.

Saoradh later issued a statement distancing the organisation from the New IRA. A spokesman said the organisation had offered its analysis of the events leading to Ms McKee's death.

“We did so as a political party on behalf of our membership who share our analysis of the terrible events,” he said.

The spokesman said Saoradh did not speak for any other organisation.

“Contrary to a hostile media and state narrative, we do not speak on behalf of the Irish Republican Army,” he said.

Confirming details of yesterday's search, a PSNI spokesman said: “Detectives from the PSNI major investigation team investigating the murder of Lyra McKee have carried out a number of searches in Chamberlain Street in Derry/Londonderry this morning, Tuesday 7th May.”

In response, Saoradh said the search came after a call by “pro-establishment parties” to put in place a tangible plan of action against republicans. The group said its national offices were targeted by “British Crown Forces” in what it claimed was a “heavy-handed rapid entry raid”.

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