Edward Daly’s prayers answered as Manx2 launches Belfast-Cork flights
The priest whose iconic image waving a bloodied handkerchief became synonymous with Bloody Sunday has had his prayers answered after flights were reintroduced between Cork and Belfast.
Retired Bishop of Derry Edward Daly was to talk about the events of Bloody Sunday one final time as a guest of the Kinsale Peace Project in October.
But on Wednesday the frail 77-year-old contacted organisers that he couldn’t go because he wouldn't be able to fly directly to Cork.
But he assured organisers he would fulfil his lifelong ambition of visiting the Cork town once direct flights were introduced.
Yesterday organisers were busy trying to reorganise his visit, after airline Manx2 launched a direct service between Cork and Belfast, beginning on September 6.
Organiser Padraig Fitzgerald said: “This is fantastic news. Bishop Daly told me only this morning that he would like to visit Kinsale once direct flights were introduced and today that’s happened.
“He had booked onto an Aer Arran direct flight, but that company recently announced it was to suspend its connection between Cork and Belfast from next month. Bishop Daly was adamant that he would only travel here if he could get here directly and received a full refund only this morning from the airline.
“But happily, it's looking like we'll see him in Kinsale very soon. If it's not in October as originally arranged, it'll probably be some time next year.”
Persuading the media-shy Bishop, who has suffered ill health in recent years, to visit the town is “a massive coup” for organisers, as it will be his final public reflection on Bloody Sunday in January 1972, when paratroopers killed 14 people at a civil rights march.
Bishop Daly, a curate at the time, is best known for waving a bloodied handkerchief as he risked his life to tend to the injured during the march.
In June he broke a 17-year silence to speak of his relief and joy at the Saville report, which concluded the killing of 14 civilians in Londonderry was “unjustified”.
After a great deal of persuasion, he finally accepted an invitation to Kinsale, but stressed to organisers it was a “one-off”.
Bishop Daly said, shortly after accepting the invitation: “I look forward to visiting Kinsale in October. I have always wanted to visit there and, somehow, I never quite got round to it.”