Today, in his home city of Derry, the Primate of All Ireland, Archbishop Eamon Martin, joined hundreds of people of all ages who gathered for a moment of silent solidarity for murdered journalist Lyra McKee. The gathering took place at the Guildhall Square in Derry City.

Meanwhile, the funeral service of the late Miss McKee was held in Saint Anne’s Church of Ireland Cathedral in Belfast.

In his address at the service, Father Martin Magill, a priest of the Diocese of Down and Connor, expressed his sympathy with Lyra’s family and partner Sara, and said he could not “begin to imagine” what they have gone through since Lyra’s untimely death on Thursday 18 April.

Speaking on the importance of maintaining peace in Northern Ireland, Father Magill said: “Since Thursday night we have seen the coming together of many people in various places and the unifying of the community against violence. I commend our political leaders for standing together in Creggan on Good Friday. I am however left with a question: ‘Why in God’s name does it take the death of a 29 year old woman with her whole life in front of her to get us to this point?’ As Christians recalled the death of Jesus on the cross, we remembered that his death was not in vain but was for us the doorway to eternal life. I dare to hope that Lyra’s murder on Holy Thursday night can be the doorway to a new beginning.”

He continued: “To those who had any part in her murder, I encourage you to reflect on Lyra McKee 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.”

Father Magill concluded: “On Easter Sunday, Christians all over the world celebrated the most important event of the Christian year, the resurrection of Jesus. It was because of his resurrection that we believe in life beyond the grave and in the words of today’s second reading from John 14: ‘in my Father’s house there are many dwelling places.’ It is in this hope of eternal life and happiness that we gather in prayer and now into the tender mercy of a loving God and Father I commend Lyra McKee. Amen.”

For full address click here.

ENDS