Lyra McKee’s legacy should be a society where labels become “meaningless”, her sister has said.
The journalist and author, 29, who was shot dead by dissident republicans on Thursday in Derry, was gay and non-sectarian. She broke down barriers in a divided community in the North, mourners at her funeral were told. Politicians separated over identity issues were urged to get back to work in her name.
She relished difference and embodied an alternative vision of a Northern Ireland at peace, a friend told the thanksgiving service in Belfast.
President Michael D Higgins, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Tánaiste Simon Coveney, UK Prime Minister Theresa May, and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn were among those who attended.
Ms McKee was killed by indiscriminate fire as she observed clashes between police and New IRA dissidents on the Creggan estate on April 18.
Her sister Nichola Corner said she was the kindest and most gentle person the world will never forget and said every single person should get the chance to grow up and make their dreams come true.
“This is Lyra’s legacy and we must carry it forward, “ she said. “This is the gift that God gave the world on the 31st of March 1990.”
Journalists across Ireland and the UK, including in Cork, held vigils in memory of Ms McKee as her funeral was under way.
She had worked for publications including the Belfast Telegraph and BuzzFeed News and wrote regularly about her experience of being a young gay woman in the North.
She was due to publish a book about the death of Unionist MP Robert Bradford at the hands of the Provisional IRA in 1981.