Lyra McKee: Funeral taking place at St Anne’s Cathedral

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Media captionWatch: The funeral of Lyra McKee is taking place at St Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast.

The funeral of Lyra McKee is taking place in Belfast at St Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast.

Prime Minister Theresa May, President of Ireland Michael D Higgins, Taoiseach (Irish prime minister) Leo Varadkar, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and local politicians are at the service.

Ms McKee, 29, was shot dead on Thursday while observing rioting in Londonderry.

The New IRA said its members killed her.

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Leo Varadkar, Theresa May and Michael D Higgins sat at the front of St Anne’s Cathedral

DUP leader Arlene Foster sat beside Sinn Féin leaders Michelle O’Neill and Mary Lou McDonald.

Also at the service is the clergyman who witnessed IRA decommissioning, the Rev Harold Good.

Many friends of the journalist are wearing Harry Potter-themed T-shirts, scarves and badges to the funeral service at St Anne’s Cathedral. Ms McKee was an avid fan of the series.

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DUP leader Arlene Foster with Sinn Féin leaders Michelle O’Neill and Mary Lou McDonald in St Anne’s Cathedral

Speaking at the beginning of the service Dean Stephen Forde said: “Lyra was a person who broke down barriers and reached across boundaries, this was her hallmark in life, this is her legacy in death.

“As a journalist she pursued truth wherever it took her, never content with the sullen silence of unanswered questions.”

He added: “She was a child of the Good Friday agreement. She was a primary school pupil in north Belfast when the agreement was signed .

“She grew up to champion its hope for a society that was free from the prejudices of the past.”

‘Dark days’

Three people have been arrested over the murder, and all have been released without charge.

Fr Joe Gormley, who anointed Ms McKee after she was shot dead, told BBC News NI there was still a “great deal of shock” in Derry.

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Sara Canning (centre) was “planning to grow old” with her partner Lyra McKee

“But people are also reflecting and they know that we are faced with a choice in life,” he said.

“We either go back to the dark days or move forward.”

He said he was willing to “sit down and talk” to those responsible.

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Lyra McKee, who was also a campaigner for LGBT rights, gave a TED talk in 2017

Fellow members of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) are to form a guard of honour at the cathedral.

The union described Ms McKee as “one of the most promising journalists” in Northern Ireland.

Ciarán Ó Maoláin, the union’s Belfast secretary, described her as “intelligent, determined and very witty”.

There has also been a gathering at Guildhall Square in Derry for those who could not attend her funeral.



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