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Tributes to inspirational Paddy 'Bogside'

By Donna Deeney

Published 08/01/2016

Paddy Doherty on Derry’s walls overlooking the Bogside
Paddy Doherty on Derry’s walls overlooking the Bogside
Paddy with Martin McGuinness
Mayor of Derry and Strabane Council Elisha McCallion signing a book of condolences in the Guildhall

Tributes to one of Londonderry's leading civil rights campaigners have been led by Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.

A carpenter and builder by trade, Paddy 'Bogside' Doherty passed away aged 89 yesterday after an illness.

Mr Doherty played a key role in the Derry Citizens' Defence Association in the Battle of the Bogside in 1969, one of the first major confrontations of the Troubles, which resulted in the Army being deployed on the streets.

His passion to create employment opportunities and regenerate the city endeared him to thousands of people.

He formed the Inner City Trust social enterprise scheme and established the Tower Museum - a building he bought for £1.

Describing him as his "good friend and legendary Derryman", Mr McGuinness said it was with profound sadness that he learnt of Mr Doherty's death.

"Paddy 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," Mr McGuinness added. "But the younger generation will remember Paddy as the driving force behind the many projects designed to regenerate our city and to provide much-needed employment to hundreds of our young people.

"The Inner City Trust responsible for the regeneration of the walled area of our city will forever be associated with Paddy's vision and dedication to his native city.

"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."

The chief executive of the Inner City Trust also paid a warm tribute to Mr Doherty. "Paddy carried out sterling work in respect of the regeneration of this city," said Helen Quigley.

"He did so in a very positive and constructive manner during very challenging times. He gave hope and inspiration to many.

"He created jobs and opportunities, particularly for our young people.

"Paddy was a determined, dedicated and fearless individual in pursuit of creating prosperity and leaving a legacy for generations to come. May he rest in peace."

Foyle MP Mark Durkan said the incredible legacy left behind by Mr Doherty would remain for generations to come.

He added: "Paddy liked to remind me that I had called him a prophet many years ago.

"As we witness how the city walls are a shared asset enjoyed by visitors, the renaissance of the Columba legacy, the vibrant renewal of heritage properties and cultural pulse in the Walled City, we should recognise that many of this prophet's hopes have been realised in his own city.

"But he would also want to hear us urging for more so that the experiences of future generations could match his expectations for Derry and its citizens."

A book of condolences for Mr Doherty has been opened at the Guildhall.

Belfast Telegraph

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