Belfast Telegraph

We can all be ambassadors of peace, Ciaran McKeown funeral gathering told

Lauren Harte

By Lauren Harte

Hundreds of mourners gathered in south Belfast yesterday to bid farewell to one of the founders of Northern Ireland's Peace People, Ciaran McKeown.

Mr McKeown passed away peacefully at home on Sunday after a short illness, aged 76.

Patrick Corrigan, Amnesty International's Northern Ireland director, helped Mr McKeown's relatives to carry his coffin into the Good Shepherd Church on the Ormeau Road for his funeral, which was followed by cremation at Roselawn.

Representing Irish President Michael D Higgins was his aide-de-camp, Captain Paul O'Donnell, who joined politicians and community leaders, including former SDLP leader Dr Alasdair McDonnell and his party colleague Claire Hanna MLA.

Mr McKeown, a writer and journalist, founded the Peace People with Mairead Corrigan and Betty Williams after Ms Corrigan's sister Anne Maguire lost three children when they were hit by a car driven by IRA man Danny Lennon in 1976.

In the latter years of his career, Mr McKeown worked for the Irish News, News Letter and Daily Mirror and many of his former colleagues attended yesterday's Funeral Mass where Fr Patrick McKenna paid tribute to his "yearning that violence and bloodshed would draw to a close, not just in our own little part of the world, but worldwide".

Fr McKenna said: "Violence, man's inhumanity to man, is so often made manifest in a world of tragedy, mayhem and chaos.

"Ciaran wished, throughout his life, that that would cease.

"He was a gentle human being, committed to non-violence, and a dedicated and loving husband, father and grandfather.

"Like Ciaran, we can all be ambassadors of peace, wherever we live and whatever we say or do in our daily lives.

Patrick Corrigan assists relatives carry the coffin of Ciaran Joseph McKeown into the Good Shepherd Church on the Ormeau Road, Belfast County Antrim, Thursday, 5th September 2019, (Photo by Paul McErlane for the Belfast Telegraph)
Patrick Corrigan assists relatives carry the coffin of Ciaran Joseph McKeown into the Good Shepherd Church on the Ormeau Road, Belfast County Antrim, Thursday, 5th September 2019, (Photo by Paul McErlane for the Belfast Telegraph)
Former SDLP leader Alasdair McDonnell at the funeral of the late Ciaran Joseph McKeown outside the Good Shepherd Church follwoing his funeral on the Ormeau Road, Belfast County Antrim, Thursday, 5th September 2019, (Photo by Paul McErlane for the Belfast Telegraph)
Irish President aide de camp Paul O'Donnell greets family members of the late Ciaran Joseph McKeown outside of the Good Shepherd Church follwoing his funeral on the Ormeau Road, Belfast County Antrim, Thursday, 5th September 2019, (Photo by Paul McErlane for the Belfast Telegraph)
Relatives carry the coffin of Ciaran Joseph McKeown out of the Good Shepherd Church follwoing his funeral on the Ormeau Road, Belfast County Antrim, Thursday, 5th September 2019, (Photo by Paul McErlane for the Belfast Telegraph)
Relatives carry the coffin of Ciaran Joseph McKeown out of the Good Shepherd Church follwoing his funeral on the Ormeau Road, Belfast County Antrim, Thursday, 5th September 2019, (Photo by Paul McErlane for the Belfast Telegraph)
Relatives follow the coffin of Ciaran Joseph McKeown out of the Good Shepherd Church follwoing his funeral on the Ormeau Road, Belfast County Antrim, Thursday, 5th September 2019, (Photo by Paul McErlane for the Belfast Telegraph)
Relatives and friends of the late Ciaran Joseph McKeown console each other outside the Good Shepherd Church following his funeral on the Ormeau Road, Belfast County Antrim, Thursday, 5th September 2019, (Photo by Paul McErlane for the Belfast Telegraph)
Patrick Corrigan assists relatives carry the coffin of Ciaran Joseph McKeown into the Good Shepherd Church on the Ormeau Road, Belfast County Antrim, Thursday, 5th September 2019, (Photo by Paul McErlane for the Belfast Telegraph)
Patrick Corrigan assists relatives carry the coffin of Ciaran Joseph McKeown into the Good Shepherd Church on the Ormeau Road, Belfast County Antrim, Thursday, 5th September 2019, (Photo by Paul McErlane for the Belfast Telegraph)
Patrick Corrigan assists relatives carry the coffin of Ciaran Joseph McKeown into the Good Shepherd Church on the Ormeau Road, Belfast County Antrim, Thursday, 5th September 2019, (Photo by Paul McErlane for the Belfast Telegraph)
Patrick Corrigan assists relatives carry the coffin of Ciaran Joseph McKeown into the Good Shepherd Church on the Ormeau Road, Belfast County Antrim, Thursday, 5th September 2019, (Photo by Paul McErlane for the Belfast Telegraph)

"The challenge to be peace-makers lives on in the life and death of Ciaran and he gives us that challenge as he leaves this world."

In her eulogy, Mr McKeown's daughter Ruth said he had "offered freely his unconditional love and instilled values of kindness, compassion, truthfulness and a natural sense of justice".

"He was one of a kind and leaves behind a profound legacy, for his family, friends and the wider community," she added.

Ciaran McKeown
Ciaran McKeown

Mr McKeown was predeceased in 2012 by his wife, Marianne, and is survived by his seven children and 17 grandchildren.

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