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04th May 2019

Tenacious journalist asks dissidents about their presence in Derry following Lyra McKee’s murder

Brave and powerful, an extremely necessary watch

Paul Moore

Brave and powerful, an extremely necessary watch

Earlier this week, 11 men were fined for taking part in an illegal dissident republican march that took place in Derry last year. During the march that occurred on Easter Monday 2018, petrol bombs and other missiles were thrown at the police.

As is the law in Northern Ireland, the PSNI must receive a notification of all prospective parades and marches.

In this case, the police did not receive any notification therefore the people organising and taking part in the event were committing an offence.

Emma Vardy, journalist with the BBC, was outside the courthouse to document the proceedings. In doing so, she asked the prominent members of Saoradh some tough questions.

Saoradh is an unregistered far-left political party that was formed by dissident republicans in 2016.

They have distanced themselves from any connection to the ‘New IRA’ in recent weeks but less than three days after the murder of McKee, Saoradh organised a parade in Dublin which featured members dressed in paramilitary-style clothing.

The parade was condemned by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar who said that: “The actions by Saoradh in Dublin this weekend are beneath contempt.”

Varadkar added: “Others like Saoradh want to return Ireland to a violent and troubled past. We can never allow this to happen. Saoradh should apologise for their actions this weekend.”

Four days after her death, a number of McKee’s friends walked to Junior McDaid House in Derry, the HQ of Saoradh, where they used a pot of red paint to place handprints on the walls of the office.

Following the murder of Lyra McKee, the PSNI have said that anonymity will be given to witnesses who come forward with information relating to the crime.

However, in an effort to intimidate and bully anyone from coming forward, dissident republican graffiti which threatens anyone who gives information to the police has appeared near the scene of the fatal shooting of McKee.

During a recent report for BBC News, journalist Emma Vardy asked Saoradh’s most prominent members some very tough and necessary questions.

“Many people in Derry don’t want your organisation here. What do you have to say to them? People see you as having endorsed the violence that killed Lyra McKee, how do you justify that? You say you represent the community, but the community here have made it very clear that you’re not welcome” are just some of Vardy’s questions and statements.

The journalist also raises the belief that Saoradh indoctrinate young people with nationalist propaganda. This in turn makes them more willing to embrace violence.

Every single one of Vardy’s questions weren’t answered.

Some of the men also tried to block the cameras from filming.

You can view the news report below and since it was released, Vardy’s professionalism has been widely praised.

Here’s a small example of the praise that Vardy has received.