Peace People founder Ciaran McKeown a ‘gentle human being’, mourners told at funeral

PACEMAKER PRESS BELFAST'5/9/2019'The funeral today of Ciaran McKeown, one of the founders of Northern Ireland's Peace People. The writer, journalist and peace activist was a driving force behind the movement that was born out of tragedy during the Troubles. He died peacefully at his home in Belfast on Sunday and leaves seven children.'Photo by Laura Davison/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER PRESS BELFAST'5/9/2019'The funeral today of Ciaran McKeown, one of the founders of Northern Ireland's Peace People. The writer, journalist and peace activist was a driving force behind the movement that was born out of tragedy during the Troubles. He died peacefully at his home in Belfast on Sunday and leaves seven children.'Photo by Laura Davison/Pacemaker Press
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The funeral was held on Thursday morning for former News Letter journalist, writer and peace campaigner Ciaran McKeown.

A former political correspondent for this newspaper who had also worked with the Irish News and Daily Mirror newspapers, Mr McKeown is best known for his work as a peace activist.

In 1976 he founded the ‘Peace People’ alongside Mairead Corrigan and Betty Williams and in 1978, he became the first person from Northern Ireland to address the General Committee of the United Nations. He passed away on September 1 following a period of illness.

Addressing mourners at his funeral at Good Shepherd Church on the Ormeau Road in Belfast on Thursday, including Captain Paul O’Donnell the aide-de-campe of Irish President Michael D Higgins, Father Patrick McKenna described Ciaran McKeown as a “gentle human being”.

“I leave it to others, better qualified than I am, to assess his life’s work as a committed pacifist, as a political commentator, as a distinguished writer and journalist, as a deep-thinking philosopher,” the Holy Rosary Parish priest said.

“I just want to remember Ciaran as a gentle human being, committed to non-violence, as a dedicated father who loved his wife Marianne and his children and grandchildren.”

He continued: “I want to remember him as a friend who humbly asked me would I celebrate his Requiem Mass when the time came for him to be gone.

“I consider it a privilege to be here today, to celebrate this Requiem Mass for the happy repose of his soul.”

Mr McKeown’s family said he left behind “a profound legacy” for family, friends, and the wider community”.