Jamie Bryson says Lyra McKee's killer was used by 'old, washed up terrorists' and loyalists should not respond to violent republicans with violence
The unionist blogger Jamie Bryson has asserted that the gunman who murdered Lyra McKee in Derry last week was used by "old and washed up terrorists" and warned young loyalists not to consider responding to violent republicanism in kind.
Writing on his 'Unionist Voice' website the County Down loyalist wrote: "The gunmen that murdered Lyra McKee were almost certainly part of my generation; a generation that has grown up in a Northern Ireland where peace, quantified as the absence of large scale violence, is almost taken for granted.
"It is perfectly legitimate for young dissidents to be anti-agreement, to campaign against it and to work - peacefully and within the law - to undermine it, but they must do so without recourse to terrorism and violence."
Mr. Bryson also warned young loyalists against reacting to attacks by violent republicans in kind.
"It is important however that young loyalists do not look at the activities of young dissident republicans and believe that the way to respond would be to similarly engage in violence.
"The ‘New’ IRA are a small group of ageing terrorists with young inexperienced teenagers being warped into believing they are fighting for a cause.
"The way young loyalists should respond is to gain education, to seek out debate and discussion and to challenge the likes of the young dissidents to take of their masks and explain themselves.
"It is easy to randomly fire a gun a shout ‘Up the RA’, it is a lot harder to sit down in a television studio or across the table in a debate and to have the so-called justification for your actions tested in the fires of intellectual scrutiny," he wrote.
Mr. Bryson issued a strong message to those young people in Derry who have been drawn into the ranks of republican organisations who support the continuation of an armed campaign.
He argued that they may believe that they are "fighting for a cause" but claimed they are really being used by "old and washed up terrorists" who put guns or bombs in their hands and send them "out to shoot into your community or at armoured land-rovers".