Lyra McKee: New IRA claims responsibility for journalist’s murder

Lyra McKee posing in a library

The New IRA has claimed responsibility for the murder of LGBT+ rights activist and journalist Lyra McKee.

The gay journalist was shot dead last Thursday night while reporting at the scene of riots in Derry, Northern Ireland.

The group claimed responsibility for the murder in a statement released to The Irish News last night. The statement read: “On Thursday night following an incursion on the Creggan by heavily armed British crown forces which provoked rioting, the IRA deployed our volunteers to engage.

“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.

“In the course of attacking the enemy Lyra McKee was tragically killed while standing beside enemy forces.

“The IRA offer our full and sincere apologies to the partner, family and friends of Lyra McKee for her death.”

Police in Northern Ireland have arrested a 57-year-old woman in connection with the murder

Meanwhile, police in Northern Ireland confirmed this morning that they had arrested a 57-year-old woman under the Terrorism Act in connection with McKee’s murder.

Two males were arrested over the weekend but were released without charge.

The New IRA is believed to have been formed between 2011 and 2012 and came about as a result of a merger between smaller groups including the Real IRA, according to RTÉ.

Police revealed yesterday that 140 people have come forward with information about the shooting, and asked anyone who can aid the investigation to come forward.

“The IRA offer our full and sincere apologies to the partner, family and friends of Lyra McKee for her death.”

– Statement from the New IRA

“This was an attack on the community. Lyra, tragically, was a random victim and I need the public to continue to support us,” Detective Superintendent Jason Murphy said.

“Many witnesses have contacted us to give us information that has been provided to them. More than 140 people have contacted us via our MIPP with messages, including mobile phone footage. House-to house enquiries are continuing, and all of that is to be welcomed.”

Lyra McKee murder: 140 people contact police with information

Charles McQuillan/Getty

Lyra McKee was a notable LGBT+ rights activist

McKee was a notable LGBT+ rights activist from Northern Ireland as well as an investigative journalist.

In an interview with The Irish Times in 2017, McKee said: “I thought at 14 you could not be out and proud; that it was a secret that had to be kept at all costs. I believed that it was better to be dead than out and gay. I believed that because of all the Biblical scripts. I used to sit in my house at night and bargain with God not to send me to hell. I don’t think any child should have to go through that.”

She also said she was “lucky” that her family was supportive when she came out at the age of 21.

Her funeral is set to take place tomorrow (April 24) in Belfast.