Friends of murdered journalist Lyra McKee have started a three-day peace walk from Belfast to Londonderry.

Ms McKee, 29, was shot in the head by the New IRA terrorist group as she observed clashes with police in Londonderry last month.

Hundreds turned out at Writer’s Square in Belfast this morning, many wearing T-shirts in her memory and carrying flags with messages of peace.

Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody is due to join walkers on the last leg of the 68 mile journey on Monday ahead of a rally at Derry’s Guildhall.

Community gropus have provided water and snacks for walkers while Samaritans will send counsellors into the camp sites each night.

Lyra’s Walk logistics and location manager Brenda Gough said: ‘We had over 300 walkers registered, obviously life happens, but the main body of walkers have turned up,



‘The aim was to have a very mixed representation of the whole community of Northern Ireland and everyone has stepped up.

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‘This type of movement attracts people who have a lot of empathy and compassion, and don’t hold prejudice.

‘We do have some walkers who have played their part in the Troubles, they are here to support us and show that change can happen.

‘That is the ethos of this, we want people to address themselves and not the politicians, because we have the politicians that we vote for, we are responsible for our government. We can’t just blame them.’

The start point of Writer’s Square is beside St Anne’s Cathedral where Prime Minister Theresa May, Irish President Michael D Higgins, Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Northern Ireland’s political leaders were among the mourners at Ms McKee’s funeral.

Setting off from the square was Ms Mckee’s partner Sara Canning’s idea who saw it as a fitting triubute to her profession as a writer.

Ms Gough added: ‘It’s beside St Anne’s Cathedral where the funeral was, so yeah, we are starting off where we last saw Lyra.’

During the funeral a priest asked Northern Ireland’s politicians why it took the death of a 29-year-old woman to unite their parties.

The latest talks process designed to restore devolved political powersharing was launched soon after the murder.



Sara Canning addressed a rally in Belfast earlier this month calling for same sex marriage to be legalised in Northern Ireland.

She questioned why same-same couples were treated differently there to the rest of the UK, where marriage is legal.