Facebook and Twitter have removed accounts from the political group Saoradh for its alleged relationship with the terrorist group Nuevo IRA, responsible for the death of journalist Lyra McKee in the Northern Irish town of Derry on 18 April.
The two social networks have been forced to act after authorities have asked them to review profiles suspected of spreading hate speech or engaging in cyberbullying.
The Saoradh platform, which means “liberation” in Gaelic, is seen by law enforcement as the political arm of the New IRA, a dissident faction of the now dormant Irish Republican Army (IRA) opposed to the peace process on the island of Ireland. Its national president, Brian Kenna, on Monday asked the armed group to issue an apology, during a ceremony held at Milltown cemetery in Belfast to remember the Easter Rising of 1916, the bloody rebellion that accelerated Ireland’s independence from the United Kingdom.
Saoradh organized similar events in different cities of the country during Holy Week and, in Dublin, its members paraded through the streets dressed in paramilitary uniforms. Following Kenna’s appeal, the New IRA on Tuesday blamed itself for the murder of McKee, 29, in a statement in which it claimed that the journalist “was tragically murdered while at the side of enemy forces,” in reference to the police. McKee was shot in the head by a masked individual who was shooting at police officers in the nationalist-Catholic area of Creggan in Derry, Northern Ireland, during a wave of violent unrest.
Saoradh has several profiles on social networks, but Twitter and Facebook have suspended their main accounts on both platforms. By now, the Facebook profiles that the political group manages from its offices in Belfast, Dublin, Limerick or Armagh are still active.