BELFAST (Reuters) – Pro-IRA graffiti in the Londonderry area of Northern Ireland where journalist Lyra McKee was shot dead last month have been replaced by colourful images and messages in defiance of the militant group responsible for her killing.
The murder of the 29-year-old reporter by a member of the New IRA group opposed to a 1998 peace deal that ended three decades of sectarian violence in Northern Ireland sparked outrage among all communities in the province.
A graffitied wall that before the killing read ‘IRA undefeated army’ was painted over in black and colourful images, some with children’s faces, were hung in its place bearing messages such as ‘Our differences make us stronger.’
Ireland’s foreign minister, whose government are co-guarantors of the peace agreement, took to Twitter on Monday to praise locals in the Creggan area of the city for standing up to militant group.
“So much respect for the community in Derry’s Creggan estate, who are determined to send a positive, generous message & reject the dissident thugs who offer nothing except intimidation – well done!” Simon Coveney said on Twitter.
A spokesman for Creggan Neighbourhood Partnership told the Irish News newspaper that it had painted over the wall following consultation with community leaders including Saoradh, a political party with links to the New IRA.
Other pro-IRA grafitti has appeared in the city since the murder – a wall near where the shooting took place was spray painted ‘Informers will be executed’ shortly after police appealed to locals to help them identify the killer.
Writing by Padraic Halpin in Dublin; Editing by Hugh Lawson