Papal flag flies in respect as Derry gathers to pay tribute to 'walking saint' Bishop Daly
The Papal flag in the grounds of St Eugene's Cathredal flew at half-mast yesterday as a mark of respect following the death of Dr Edward Daly, the former Bishop of Derry.
Held in high regard in the city, the Catholic bishop was more widely known for brandishing a blood-stained white handkerchief as Hugh McMonagle helped carry fatally injured teenager Jackie Duddy under Army fire on Bloody Sunday in one of the enduring images of the Troubles.
Mr McMonagle (71) visited the cathedral, where the remains of Dr Daly are laying in repose ahead of his funeral tomorrow.
He said: "If anyone is talking about a walking saint, it was him."
The cleric was a life-long critic of all violence.
Mr McMonagle added: "He gave us hope for what we were going through at that time with Bloody Sunday; he was there personally for us.
"If our Pope would turn around and look at the life of our father Bishop Edward, he was a walking saint... charity, he donated his retirement to Foyle Hospice, he donated everything. He looked after his flock.
"It is heartbreaking looking at him and saying you are not with us any more, physically, but spiritually I know you will be looking after this city.
"My heart is breaking, it is really breaking."
A steady flow of people have filed past Dr Daly's open coffin, many clearly deeply saddened that the 82-year-old had passed away after a battle with cancer.
Among them was Roisin McElhinney, who came with her mother Sylvia.
She said: "Bishop Daly was one of us, there were no airs or graces with him, which made the people of this city love him all the more.
"On a personal level, we got to know him during the time our daddy was at the Foyle Hospice.
"He was so supportive to us, he knew what to say and when to say it and not in any kind of a preachy way.
"He was with us when daddy died and we will never forget his goodness to us."
Derry mayor Hilary McClintock opened a book of condolence for Dr Daly shortly after his death was announced.
Page upon page of tributes and messages have been left by people from around Ireland, and from as far as Canada.
Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness wrote: "Fondly remembering Bishop of Derry, Edward Daly.
"He will forever be remembered with deep affection by the people of Derry, whose lives he impacted so positively.
"Hard being a bishop at a time of war, pleased he live to see peace. RIP"
Paul and Cormac McLaughlin left a message that simply read: "Greatly appreciated and will be sadly missed by all from Derry and beyond".
Jim McKeever wrote a personal note on behalf of his whole family: "True friend to me and my family when my wife died. Heaven has gained a saint."