Lyra McKee’s family have paid tribute to the journalist’s “gentle, innocent soul” ahead of her funeral on Wednesday (April 24).
In a statement, the family remembered McKee as “a smart, strong-minded woman who believed passionately in inclusivity, justice and truth.”
They said that her “openness and her desire to bring people together made her totally apolitical,” adding that her “personal philosophy” was “the only way to overcome hatred and intolerance is with love, understanding and kindness.”
“Lyra believed passionately in inclusivity, justice and truth.”
—Lyra McKee’s family
“Lyra was a warm and innocent heart, the greatest listener and someone who had time for everyone,” the family added, thanking those who have paid their respects.
Lyra McKee’s funeral to take place in Belfast
The 29-year-old journalist’s funeral will be held at the St Anne’s Cathedral in west Belfast at 1pm on Wednesday.
Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and President Michael D Higgins will attend alongside other political and faith leaders.
British Prime Minister Theresa May and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will travel to Northern Ireland for the service.
McKee’s partner Sara Canning has asked friends to wear Harry Potter or Marvel themed T-shirts, while members of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) have been invited to provide a guard of honour.
The service will be “a celebration of her life,” and will be led by members of both the Protestant and Catholic churches.
The family chose the Church of Ireland cathedral because of its reputation as a “shared space” for the divided community.
McKee was shot dead on while observing riots in Derry, Northern Ireland on April 18.
She was a promising young journalist who had recently completed a book about the disappearances of Troubles-era children.
Described as a “a tireless advocate and activist,” by her partner, she first rose to prominence after writing an essay to her teenage self about being gay.
Arrests made in connection with Lyra McKee murder
On Tuesday (April 23), a 57-year-old woman was arrested in connection with McKee’s death, but was later released unconditionally.
This followed the arrests of two teenage men on April 21. Both were released without charge.
The New IRA claimed responsibility for McKee’s death on Monday (April 22).
“In the course of attacking the enemy Lyra McKee was tragically killed while standing beside enemy forces,” a statement read.
“The IRA offer our full and sincere apologies to the partner, family and friends of Lyra McKee for her death.”