Saoradh rejects link to 'New I.R.A.' and denies any involvement in murder of Lyra McKee

An unregistered political party has denied allegations that it acts as the political wing of the 'New I.R.A.' - the group responsible for the murder of 29 year-old journalist Lyra McKee.

Thursday, 2nd May 2019, 2:41 pm
Updated Thursday, 2nd May 2019, 2:43 pm
Republicans take part in the Saoradh National Easter Commemoration in Londonderry in 2017. (Photo: Presseye)

In a statement published on Junior McDaid House website on Thursday morning, the group hit out at what it described as a "hostile media" and claimed a "campaign" had been launched to deny the group and its members of their human rights under European Union and International legislation.

"Following the tragic killing of Lyra McKee in Derry a fortnight ago, Saoradh offered its analysis of the events that led to the journalists death; we did so as a political party on behalf of our membership who share our analysis of the terrible events," said the group.

"We did not and do not speak on behalf of any other organisation and contrary to a hostile media and state narrative we do not speak on behalf of the Irish Republican Army.

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Republicans take part in the Saoradh National Easter Commemoration in Londonderry in 2017. (Photo: Presseye)

"Saoradh was roundly attacked in the media and by the political aristocracy for doing so.

"Quickly a public discourse was built up accusing Saoradh and its activists for Lyra’s death.

"Saoradh played no role in the events that led to the death of Lyra McKee."

The morning after the murder of Lyra McKee the group calling itself Saoradh published a statement on one of the social media channels belonging to Junior McDaid House in Chamberlain Street in Londonderry.

The statement was widely and overwhelmingly rejected by people of different political viewpoints and faiths across Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and all over the world.

Saoradh blamed the P.S.N.I. and the British army, who were in Creggan conducting searches, for the death of Ms. McKee.

The group described the masked man responsible firing the shot that killed Ms. McKee as a "republican volunteer" who was defending his people "from the P.S.N.I./R.U.C.".

"Saoradh is an open and publicly accessible political party, though we offer an analysis on armed actions in the pursuit of Irish national liberation, Saoradh does not engage in armed struggle.

"Saoradh is not a proscribed organisation, we have as our means political agitation, mobilisation and grassroots activism.

"Since our formation in 2016 we have grown and we continue to grow, we have three public offices with more planned, each one open and accessible to the public," the statement added.

The statement continued: "Everyone has a fundamental right under international law and European human rights legislation to organise, hold and impart their political opinion and freedom of expression. However since the events in Derry at Easter a campaign to remove those rights from Saoradh has been launched.

"We have had our access to the internet and various online platforms curtailed in an effort to deny us those basic fundamental rights of freedom of speech and expression.

"Saoradh place the blame for this orchestrated attack on everyone's rights at the door of the British and Dublin Governments who ironically are using the death of a journalist to impose unprecedented levels of censorship. Presently no political party in western Europe is subjected to the level of censorship now imposed on Saoradh.

"Saoradh is currently pursuing a number of avenues to address these attacks on the freedom of speech.

"What the state does today on Irish republicans it will not hesitate to use tomorrow on the rest of society.

"You may not share our opinion, you may be diametrically opposed to it, as is your right, but you must understand that the denial of our rights today is the denial of your rights tomorrow."

The P.S.N.I. is treating the death of Ms. McKee as both murder and a terrorist act.