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Paddy 'Bogside' Doherty, Londonderry civil rights activist, dies

Published 07/01/2016

Paddy Doherty was influential in the events which culminated in the so-called Battle of the Bogside in 1969
Paddy Doherty was influential in the events which culminated in the so-called Battle of the Bogside in 1969

Tributes have been paid to a veteran civil rights activist who has died at the age of 89.

Paddy Doherty, who was better known as "Paddy Bogside" passed away at his home in Londonderry during the early hours of Thursday morning following a battle with illness.

A carpenter and builder by trade, he was one of the most prominent figures in the civil rights movement of the 1960s and 1970s.

As a key player in the Derry Citizens Defence Association (DCDA) he was influential in the events which culminated in the so-called Battle of the Bogside in 1969 during which British troops were brought onto the streets for the first time.

He later worked with the Irish Foundation for Human Development in Derry and founded the Inner City Trust.

Northern Ireland's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said he was saddened by the death of a "legendary friend".

He said: "P addy will be remembered by the older generation for his central role in the Derry Citizens Defence Association during what has become known as the Battle of the Bogside and the Free Derry era. But the younger generation will remember him as the driving force behind the many projects designed to regenerate our city and provide much needed employment to hundreds of young people.

"Paddy's enthusiasm for everything he became involved in made a lasting impression on all who had the good fortune to be familiar with him. He never missed an opportunity to promote Derry throughout the world."

SDLP MP Mark Durkan described him as a civic champion.

He said: " Paddy Doherty was a lion of civic ambition and community ethic. He was a true pioneer of methods of engagement and enablement which found wider practice with the development of the peace process.

"Paddy had a huge pride in his city, its hinterland and its history, and an even bigger heart for its people.

"He had dreams which he could turn into schemes, all driven by his ambition for the city and people he loved."

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council Elisha McCallion also expressed sympathy.

She said: "Paddy Bogside was a true Derry man who loved his city and its people. On a personal level, Paddy played a major part in my life, he inspired me to become involved in politics and was a dear family friend. I will never forget the positive work he has done for the city, he leaves behind a real legacy that will have lasting benefits for future generations."

A book of condolence is to be opened at Derry's Guildhall.

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