Sinister graffiti depicting a gun and accompanied with the IRA slogan has appeared on several locations across Dungannon, Coalisland and Stewartstown – including outside a primary school – in the days after the murder of journalist Lyra McKee.
The displays of support for the so-called dissident republican terror group, came as several public events were held in Dungannon and Cookstown in solidarity against the shocking killing of the reporter, whose funeral service was held in Belfast yesterday.
In a statement, the New IRA – who refer to themselves as the IRA – claimed responsibility for shooting the 29-year-old who was observing a riot in the Creggan area of Derry on Thursday night. The IRA symbols which have appeared across south Tyrone, have been described as intimidation, by the SDLP’s Malachy Quinn.
He said he had been contacted by a Protestant woman living in the Stewartstown area who highlighted the graffiti close to her land and also identified similar images having been drawn in Killen and outside St Mary’s Primary School in Stewartstown.
The graffiti has also recently appeared in the town area of Coalisland.
“Less than two days after Lyra was murdered by faceless thugs these signs have appeared (among others) outside the wall of a primary school and on the walls of land belong to a Protestant family,” said Cllr Quinn.
“This is nothing short of intimidation. Not sure the words pathetic or disgusting go far enough anymore. I don’t think those involved in these stunts listen to reason or logic.
“These need removed immediately from these properties and those that done this need to clear off and get a life.”
Sinn Féin councillor Niamh Doris described the graffiti as an “eyesore”.
She said she raised the issue of the graffiti at the Coalisland Town Centre forum after being contacted by business owners and residents.
Cllr Doris added, “I have been working with the council to get this removed as soon as possible. This is affecting people’s businesses and it is an eyesore. There is over £3 million being invested into a public realm scheme in Coalisland and getting this graffiti removed is a waste of tax payers money and in many cases hardworking business owners as it is also on private property.”