Death of Lyra McKee Should Mark New Beginning, Priest Says

“I plead with you to take the road of non-violence to achieve your political ends."

The 29-year-old journalist was shot dead in Derry last Thursday.

The murder of Lyra McKee has the potential to be the "doorway to a new beginning" for Northern Ireland, her funeral has heard.

Father Martin Magill made the comments to hundreds of mourners during the late journalist's funeral service at St Anne's Cathedral on Wednesday.

“Many of us will be praying that Lyra’s death in its own way will not have been in vain and will contribute in some way to building peace here,” he said. 

He then took the opportunity in his homily to plead to those who had any part in her murder to reflect on Lyra McKee, a journalist and writer, as a powerful example of ‘the pen is mightier than the sword’.

“I plead with you to take the road of non-violence to achieve your political ends,” he said

A wide range of political figures from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland were in attendance at the service including President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Tanaiste Simon Coveney and Katherine Zappone.

DUP leader Arlene Foster, Sinn Fein leaders Mary Lou McDonald and Michelle O’Neill, Prime Minister Theresa May and Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn were also in attendance.

Quoting a friend of Lyra, Father Magill made a plea to the politicians in attendance to work together so that those in deprived areas feel that the peace process is working for them.

"The younger generation needs jobs, they need a better health service and education. They need a life, not a gun put in their hands.

“I know you as politicians have a very difficult job to but then so too did Lyra. There is another valuable lesson from her life – she was like ‘a dog with a bone’ when she believed she could make a difference,” he told mourners. 

The priest finished the ceremony by commending those who have come forward with information and encouraging others to do so.

“If you want to see an end to these brutal rules, and see a new society built on justice and fairness, on hope and not fear, then you can help build that society by letting the police know what you know,” Magill said, adding that special measures are to be in place to ensure safety and "where you will not be intimidated by coercive controllers, if you do so”.

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