'IRA' renews apology for killing Lyra McKee but vows to continue campaign
THE ‘IRA’ has renewed its apology for killing writer Lyra McKee last year.
In a statement the group, which is also referred to as the New IRA, again apologised for killing the 29-year-old and claimed it has introduced new 'measures' for members involved in carrying out future attacks.
Ms McKee was shot in the head as she monitored a riot which erupted after police raids in the Creggan estate in Derry last April.
The statement said: “The IRA again take this opportunity to offer our full and sincere apologies to the partner and family and friends of Lyra McKee for her death.
“Our volunteers have been instructed to take the utmost care in future when engaging the enemy and we have put in place measures to ensure this.”
SDLP Policing Board member Dolores Kelly described the statement as an insult.
“I actually think it is a gross insult to the memory of Lyra McKee - to suggest that how she lost her life was a war engagement when they were firing shots when there was innocent people around,” she said.
“They have never sought any mandate from the people because they know they are not likely to get it, as people showed in 1998 (when the Good Friday Agreement was signed)."
The statement, which was signed T O'Neill, 'Army Council' IRA, also said: “The leadership of the Irish Republican Army sends greetings to its imprisoned volunteers and their families and wishes them a peaceful future.
“We send messages of solidarity and pledges of continued struggle to the men and woman in jail in the occupied six counties and the Free State.
“Your sacrifices and the sacrifices made by your families over difficult and long periods will be rewarded with the justice you deserve - freedom in the socialist republic."
It adds: “Against a background of the British government and its proxies stamping their authority on Ireland by force, we in the IRA intend meeting force with force.
“Finally, we look forward to a successful 2020 and to consolidation of the struggle against the illegal British occupation and all that it entails."
The paramilitary group, which detonated a car bomb outside a courthouse in Derry last January, also attempted to launch several other attacks last year including placing a bomb under the car of a PSNI officer in east Belfast in June, which was later discovered.
Referring to a socialist republic, Ms Kelly said: “Is that something that's going to be imposed on the people of Ireland?
“Because they have not sought a political mandate for the shape of Ireland they are fighting for.”
Meanwhile, Ms McKee has been posthumously awarded a Master of Arts degree in online journalism by Birmingham City University, where she studied for a distance learning master's degree between 2012 and 2014.
Her sister Nichola Corner and brother-in-law John Corner received the award during the university’s first graduation ceremony of the year, held at Symphony Hall Birmingham.