A journalist killed by dissident republican paramilitaries in Northern Ireland is to be laid to rest on Wednesday, in a “celebration of her life” spent chronicling the troubled history of the province.
Lyra McKee, 29, was shot in the head on Thursday as rioters clashed with police in Londonderry, the second city of the British province.
On Tuesday dissident republican faction the New IRA claimed responsibility and apologised, saying the shots had been aimed at the police.
The killing evoked memories of the three decades of violent strife in Northern Ireland and sparked condemnation across the political spectrum also in the neighbouring Republic of Ireland.
McKee’s partner Sara Canning said her funeral at St Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast would be a “celebration of her life”.
McKee established her career writing about the so-called “ceasefire babies” — the generation which came of age after the 1998 Good Friday Agreement which ended the conflict known as “The Troubles”.
She also wrote as a passionate advocate for LGBT issues, featuring in the prestigious Forbes “30 under 30” list of rising stars in the media.
Canning asked that those attending the funeral ceremony wear Harry Potter and Marvel superhero clothing in tribute to McKee’s love of the franchises.
“We are all poorer for the loss of Lyra,” Canning said on Friday.
“Our hopes and dreams and all of her amazing potential was snuffed out by a single barbaric act.” “Her legacy will live on in the life that she’s left behind.” The funeral is expected to begin at around 1200 GMT.
Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney is to attend the ceremony alongside President Michael D. Higgins.
Representatives from Northern Ireland’s six main political parties are also expected to attend, having issued a rare joint statement in condemnation of the killing.
“It was a pointless and futile act to destroy the progress made over the last 20 years, which has the overwhelming support of people everywhere,” it read.
British minister for Northern Ireland Karen Bradley called McKee a “young, vibrant woman who symbolised the new Northern Ireland.” “Our lasting tribute to Lyra will be to ensure that we continue to work for peace for the whole of Northern Ireland,” she told MPs on Tuesday.
The New IRA seeks the integration of the British province of Northern Ireland with the Republic of Ireland — rejecting mainstream non-violent political campaigns to achieve that end.
Offering “full and sincere apologies” the splinter organisation said McKee was unintentionally shot as their forces targeted police.
Police in Northern Ireland said Tuesday that a 57-year-old woman had been arrested under the Terrorism Act in connection with the killing.
Two men aged 18 and 19 who were arrested earlier in the investigation have now been released without charge.
McKee’s killing follows a spate of letter bombings and a car bombing, also claimed by the New IRA.