Bishop did more than most to help heal city – Troubles support group

Bishop Edward Daly
Bishop Edward Daly

A Troubles support group known for its vocal criticism of terrorism has praised Bishop Daly’s contribution to peacebuilding in the Province.

Innocent Victims United issued a statement yesterday, hailing the late cleric’s opposition to bloodshed.

Its spokesman Kenny Donaldson said that Bishop Daly had made a special contribution towards reconciliation in Londonderry in particular, where he had spent much of his career after being ordained in 1957.

Mr Donaldson said for many victims of republican violence, such as the 1972 Claudy bombing – which was alleged to have been linked to priest Jim Chesney – there remains a lingering “cloud” over some of the Catholic Church’s conduct in Co Londonderry during the Troubles era.

However, when it comes to Bishop Daly’s beliefs, Mr Donaldson said: “It is a matter of public record that he opposed terrorism and criminal violence in all its forms over the years of The Troubles.

“He contributed more than most in building peace in a city ravaged by terror and civil unrest and his contribution alongside others can be seen in a very different Londonderry in 2016, which for all its continued problems is vastly changed from the Londonderry of 1970.”

Following the death of Bishop Daly, among those expressing their sympathies was the Church of Ireland’s Rt Revd Ken Good.

Rev Good, the Bishop of the diocese of Derry and Raphoe, had written in a statement published on the church’s website: “He was a man of great strength, great courage and great compassion and set an inspirational example to everyone around him.

“Bishop Daly provided unwavering Christian leadership and guidance when it was desperately needed in this city and community – during the darkest days of the Troubles.”

He added: “He was a good friend. He will be sadly missed.”

Rev Dr David Latimer, of First Derry Presbyterian Church, told the Londonderry Sentinel: “I knew Bishop Daly for as long as I’ve been in this city, which is 28 years, and really, it was during his time as chaplain at the hospice that I got to know him best as our paths crossed on many, many occasions.

“Bishop Daly related to people from my tradition in exactly the same way as he related to people from his own.”

Meanwhile Rev Bill Mullally, President of the Methodist Church, emailed the News Letter to say: “In his life and ministry as priest and bishop he [Bishop Daly] lived up to those words of Jesus: ‘Blessed are the peacemakers’.”