Belfast Telegraph

Tributes to former bishop of Derry and Raphoe Dr James Mehaffey after his death aged 88


The late Bishop James Mehaffey with the late Bishop Edward Daly when they received the Freedom of the City of Derry from mayor Councillor Brenda Stevenson in 2015
The late Bishop James Mehaffey with the late Bishop Edward Daly when they received the Freedom of the City of Derry from mayor Councillor Brenda Stevenson in 2015

Tributes have been paid to the former Church of Ireland Bishop of Derry and Raphoe, Dr James Mehaffey following his death.

Bishop Mehaffey, who was 88, and died on Monday evening surrounded by his family.

He led the Diocese of Derry and Raphoe for more than 20 years after being appointed in 1980. He remained as head of the Church of Ireland in the city until his retirement in January 2002.

During his time in the role, the bishop, who was born near Portadown, frequently officiated at funerals of parishioners killed in the Troubles.

He forged a close bond with his Catholic counterpart, the late Dr Edward Daly.

The two led carol services and released joint statements during the Troubles.

Pat Hume, wife of SDLP founding member and former MP John, said she and her husband were deeply saddened to hear of the death of Dr Mehaffey.

"Dr Mehaffey was a man of wise counsel, Christian courtesy and civic care throughout his ministry. Through his friendship with Dr Edward Daly, they both were the embodiment of peace, partnership and reconciliation on this island.

"Indeed, he worked with John throughout some of our city and country’s darkest days but never gave up on finding a better way for our traditions and people to live side by side in peace.

"We would like to extend our sincere sympathies to his wife Thelma, his children and wider family circle at this time."

The SDLP leader Colum Eastwood said he hopes Dr Mehaffey's family are comforted by the pride taken in his memory.

"Bishop Mehaffey lived the values that he preached every day - generosity, compassion and an inextinguishable love for our city and everyone who lives here."

Sinn Fein MP Martina Anderson said: "Tonight Derry lost a champion of all of us, a decent human being who was respected by all who had the pleasure of meeting him

"He’ll was fondly known as “Bishop Mehaffey” the former Church of Ireland Bishop of Derry & Raphoe who worked very well alongside Bishop Daly."

UUP councillor in the Waterside area of the city Darren Guy said he was sad to hear the news.

"A truly inspirational gentleman, will be fondly remembered for his warmth and for his enthusiasm to improve the lives of everyone in his adopted City.

"My sincere condolences to his wife Thelma, daughter Wendy & son Tim."

A funeral notice for Dr Mehaffey described him as the "much-loved husband of Thelma and beloved dad to Wendy, Tim and the late Philip".

His funeral service will take place on Saturday at 2pm at St Columb's Cathedral, Londonderry, followed by cremation at Roselawn Crematorium on Monday at 1.30pm.
 

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