Leaders pay tribute to Bishop Edward Daly

Bishop Edward Daly
Bishop Edward Daly

Political leaders in Belfast, Dublin and London have paid tribute to retired Bishop of Derry Edward Daly who has died aged 82.

Irish president Michael D Higgins said: “Edward Daly will be remembered by many for his peaceful, compassionate, humanitarian and courageous actions during the appalling events of Bloody Sunday.

“This was but one part of the great contribution that was his life of service to the citizens of Derry, including as it did his leadership in the tasks of regeneration and his work with the hospice movement in the later part of his life.”

Sinn Fein’s Stormont Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said: “He was a man of authentic faith and compassion and a tremendous force for good who dedicated his life to the service of others.

“Bishop Daly was a strong supporter of the peace process who spoke out strongly against injustice and violence and was very supportive to me personally in my role in the peace process and the development of the institutions.”

DUP First Minister Arlene Foster said he served his parishioners tirelessly.

“During the darker moments of our recent past Dr Daly made a significant contribution by arguing that violence should be rejected and by articulating a vision based on respect and tolerance.”

Former SDLP leader and Nobel laureate John Hume and his wife Pat expressed their deep sadness at the death of their “dear friend”.

Pat Hume said: “Always a beacon of light and with a warm and reassuring presence, he was a great source of strength to us in difficult times, as he has been to countless others.

“Bishop Daly came from a place of enormous spiritual depth and generosity.

“He was able to combine great gentleness with immense strength.

“He listened deeply to others and his counsel was always based on love. Above all, he was kind.”

Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire said Edward Daly witnessed many tragedies of the Northern Ireland troubles at first hand, but his priority was always to his parishioners and he was a constant champion of the people of the North West.

“He was an iconic figure in civic life, and he will long be remembered as a cleric who worked tirelessly to promote peace for all, said Mr Brokenshire.”

Retired Church of Ireland bishop of Derry and Raphoe James Mehaffey said they were firm friends.

He said: “We ministered to a divided community at a difficult time in its history, and sought to provide true Christian leadership.

“We worked closely together, at home and abroad - including on two joint visits to the United States - and the friendship which developed between us was one of the great blessings of my ministry.

“What Bishop Edward and I did together was based on faith, friendship, respect and trust.

“He was a man of God and a man of the people, a great church leader and a remarkable friend.”