Twenty-one years after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, a resurgent ‘New IRA’, which has taken responsibility for a car bombing and a series of parcel bombs discovered at landmarks in London and Glasgow, was blamed on Thursday for the killing of a journalist during riots in the city of Londonderry, Northern Ireland’s second-largest city.
Reporter Lyra McKee, 29, was shot and killed during rioting that broke out in the Creggan neighborhood of the city Thursday night. Unrest erupted after police tried to raid the homes of several suspected militants in search of weapons and ammunition, fearing violence over the Easter weekend. Mark Hamilton, PSNI assistant chief constable, said 50 petrol bombs were thrown and two cars hijacked during the rioting, while McKee’s death was the only fatality. She was killed after being caught in the crossfire between dissidents and police sent to quell the riots.
After being shot, she was transported to a hospital, but died of her injuries.
McKee’s twitter account has been switched to private following news of her death. But screenshots of her final tweets were published in several press accounts.
Irish and British leaders condemned McKee’s killing. Theresa May described the death as “shocking and truly senseless.” She added that “[McKee] was a journalist who died doing her job with great courage.” Irish PM Leo Varadkar condemned the attack. “We are all full of sadness after last night’s events…we cannot allow those who want to propagate violence, fear and hate to drag us back to the past.”
Because of a row between the Democratic Unionists, the biggest pro-British party, and the Sinn Fein party of Irish republicans, power sharing institutions set up by the Good Friday agreement have been suspended for more than two years, aggravating the tensions.
The ‘New IRA’ and extremist Republican sympathizers have been reinvigorated by Brexit, which could lead to the institution of a land border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, rolling back one of the chief accomplishments of the Good Friday agreement, a process opposed by the Republicans.
In 2016, Forbes magazine named her one of the “30 under 30 in media.”
The ‘New IRA’ group emerged in 2012 following the merger of several groups Republican groups, including the Real IRA.