Twitter account of dissident group Saoradh suspended

Group linked to New IRA had participated in military-style marches

The @EireSaoradh account was suspended by Twitter.

The @EireSaoradh account was suspended by Twitter.

 

The Twitter account of dissident Republican group Saoradh has been suspended, following the murder of Derry-based journalist Lyra McKee.

Saoradh is believed to be the political arm of the New IRA, the group that has claimed responsibility for the killing of Ms McKee last week, while she stood with other bystanders watching rioting in Creggan, Derry.

Saoradh says it is a standalone political organisation, but it is viewed as reflecting the views of the New IRA.

On Wednesday, Saoradh’s Twitter account was suspended by the social media company, however the organisation’s Facebook page was still active.

Commenting on the suspension of Saoradh’s account, a spokeswoman for Twitter said “We have clear terms of service in place which we enforce when violations are identified.”

When asked what section of the platform’s rules had been violated by the account, the spokeswoman refused to comment further.

In the days following the murder of Ms McKee several calls were made by other users of Twitter, to lodge complaints with the platform over Saoradh’s account.

The funeral of Ms McKee was taking place in St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast on Wednesday, with President Michael D Higgins, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, and British prime minister Theresa May due in attendance..

In a statement given to the Irish News using a recognised code word, the New IRA admitted responsibility for the killing, and offered “full and sincere apologies” to family and friends of Ms McKee.

The New IRA is an amalgam of armed groups opposed to the peace process and it recently claimed responsibility for parcel bombs sent to London and Glasgow in March.

Speaking after the shooting of Ms McKee, chairman of Saoradh Brian Kenna, said members of the group believed they were resisting an “incursion by crown forces”, during rioting in the Creggan area.

He said Saoradh was a standalone organisation that “had no hand, act or part” in the murder of the young journalist.

In the aftermath of the killing, friends of the 29-year-old journalist protested by leaving red handprints of paint on the walls of a Derry office used by Saoradh.

Following the shooting, Saoradh cancelled an Easter Rising commemoration parade planned for Derry on Monday, although it did hold a parade in Dublin on Saturday, with some of its members marching in paramilitary garb.

Around 200 members and supporters attended the march down O’Connell Street, wearing berets and sunglasses.

The march was widely condemned by all corners of the political spectrum, with Mr Varadkar calling those who attended the parade “beneath contempt.”