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Dr Edward Daly: The peacebuilder who walked into harm's way on Bloody Sunday

Edward Daly became one of the most famous images from Troubles as the priest who waved a blood-stained hanky amid slaughter in Derry

By Donna Deeney and Sarah MacDonald

Published 09/08/2016

Dr Edward Daly
Dr Edward Daly
The remains of the late Bishop Edward Daly which were brought to St. Eugene's Cathedral in Derry on Monday evening
One of the images of Bishop Daly during Bloody Sunday
Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness signing the book of condolence
First Minister Arlene Foster
Dr Daly’s family arriving for the removal

Retired Bishop of Derry Dr Edward Daly - thrust into the spotlight as the priest waving a blood-stained white handkerchief on Bloody Sunday - will be remembered as a "fearless peacebuilder", the leader of Ireland's Catholics has said.

Dr Daly was surrounded by family when he passed away yesterday at the age of 82 after losing his battle with cancer.

Hundreds attended the removal of his remains from Altnagelvin Hospital to St Eugene's Cathedral in Derry last night.

The coffin was escorted from a local funeral director's premises in William Street to the cathedral by his family and local priests.

With the papal flag and Bishop Daly's coat-of-arms flying at half-mast outside the parochial house at St Eugene's - where he served as bishop from 1974 until his retirement in 1993 - the coffin was met at the entrance by the current Bishop of Derry, Dr Donal McKeown.

Many of Bishop Daly's clerical and lay contemporaries were present, and attended a prayer service.

Also there were his sisters Marion and Anne, as well as his devoted housekeeper Betty.

A host of religious leaders, politicians and members of the public paid tribute to the deceased cleric yesterday.

Among them was Gerald Duddy, who was just 14 when he watched the then Fr Daly comfort a young man shot by the Army on Bloody Sunday in January 1972 unaware that it was his own brother Jackie (17).

Mr Duddy told the Belfast Telegraph Dr Daly would never be forgotten by the people of the city.

"He was my hero and he has been my hero since the day I watched him give comfort to someone who had been shot on Bloody Sunday.

"I didn't know at that time that it was our Jackie - but to know that our Jackie didn't die alone on the street because of him is something that will never leave me. He risked his own life to help the dead and dying on that day while the bullets were still flying - he was a man of the people and just wanted to be treated as an ordinary man, which was the making of him.

"Everyone knows that picture of him waving his white handkerchief in front of men carrying our Jackie, and that handkerchief was the most treasured possession in our family."

Catholic Primate of All Ireland Archbishop Eamon Martin, who was ordained as a priest by Dr Daly in 1987, said: "(He was) a fearless peacebuilder - as exemplified by his courage on Bloody Sunday in Derry - and a holy and humble faith leader."

First and Deputy First Ministers Arlene Foster and Martin McGuinness also paid their respects. Mrs Foster stated: "Bishop Daly devoted his life to serving and helping others, quietly undertaking a wide range of charitable works in the local community. During the darker moments of our recent past Dr Daly made a significant contribution by arguing that violence should be rejected and by articulating a vision based on respect and tolerance."

Mr McGuinness added: "He was a man of authentic faith and compassion, and a tremendous force for good who dedicated his life to the service of others."

Retired Church of Ireland Bishop James Mehaffey described Bishop Daly as his "very great friend".

He added: "He was a man of God and a man of the people - a great church leader and a remarkable friend."

Church of Ireland Bishop of Derry and Raphoe Dr Ken Good said Bishop Daly's death was a loss to the whole community.

Dr David Latimer of First Derry Presbyterian Church added: "In the 28 years since I came to Derry, I got to know Bishop Daly best through his work in the Foyle Hospice, where he provided great spiritual comfort to the patients and families, regardless of their Christian affiliation or if they had no faith at all."

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood said: "It is difficult to fully express the huge sense of loss which the city of Derry is currently feeling. He was greatly loved and will be hugely missed."

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