Northern Ireland news

Funeral arrangements for Peace People co-founder Ciaran McKeown

Ciaran McKeown died on Sunday at his home after a period of illness

Family and friends of Peace People founder Ciaran McKeown will gather in Belfast tomorrow for his funeral.

Requiem Mass will be held at the Good Shepherd Church on the Ormeau Road with cremation afterwards at Roselawn.

The 76-year-old journalist and peace activist died on Sunday at his home after a period of illness.

Mr McKeown's family have asked that donations in lieu of flowers be made to Médecins Sans Frontieres, the international humanitarian medical charity working in conflict zones and in countries affected by endemic diseases.

The Peace People was created in 1976 by Mr McKeown with Mairead Corrigan and Betty Williams after three young children in west Belfast were run over and killed by a car driven by an IRA man who had been fatally shot by British troops while trying to make a getaway.

Mr McKeown, northern correspondent for The Irish Press Group, felt "the community as a whole had got to the point where it was saying `enough is enough', no matter what the problems are or were, violence only makes them worse".

In 1978, the Derry native became the first person from Northern Ireland to address the General Assembly of the United Nations, delivering a speech on behalf of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation.

Later penning the book `The Passion of Peace', he returned to the world of newspapers, working for The Irish News, News Letter and Daily Mirror.

As The News Letter's political correspondent and frequent leader-writer during a key period in the 1990s, he wrote editorials endorsing moves towards peace, including reform of policing in Northern Ireland.

He also served as executive secretary of Belfast's Lyric Theatre.

Mr McKeown, who is predeceased by his wife Marianne, is survived by his children, Marianne, Rachel, Susan, Simon, Ruth, Leah and Hannah and 17 grandchildren

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