The late Bishop of Derry, Dr Edward Daly, was last week interred in the city’s St Eugene’s cathedral after a huge funeral that paid tribute to his 60 years service to the City and his immense personal courage.
Bishop Daly, who died last Monday aged 82, was buried in a small cemetery in the grounds of St. Eugene’s Cathedral next to his predecessor, Bishop Neil Farren who was Bishop of Derry from 1939 until 1973 and who died in 1980.
Between the announcement of Dr Daly’s death and his funeral more than 25,000 people visited Saint Eugene’s Cathedral since to pay their respects. Unusually for such a solemn occasion there was huge applause as his coffin was carried out and he left the cathedral for the last time.
Retired Church of Ireland Bishop Dr James Mehaffey, who worked closely with Bishop Daly during The Troubles, and retired former Church of Ireland Primate of All Ireland Robin Eames, were also among the dignitaries. Bishop of Derry Donal McKeon, the Derry-born Archbishop of Armagh Eamon Martin and former Primate Seán Brady were among those who con-celebrated the mass.
The President of Ireland Michael D Higgins, the Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland Martin McGuinness, the SDLP’s John and Pat Hume and Ivan Cooper, Northern Ireland minister Kris Hopkins MP were also among the many to attend the requiem service at which a personal tribute to Dr Daly from Pope Francis was read aloud.
No UUP or DUP representatives were present, including the DUP Mayor of Derry and Strabane Disctirct Council Alderman Hilary McClintock.
A message of condolence was read out on behalf of Pope Francis, who said that Bishop Daly had dedicated his life to serving peace and justice. Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland Eamon Martin paid tribute to “a great priest, a caring and compassionate pastor, a man of prayer and peace, a courageous and fearless leader, a special person”.
Bishop McKeown said Bishop Daly’s ministry “was marked by total dedication to the people he served” and “that dedication was visible in outstanding courage”.
He praised his “physical courage on Bloody Sunday” and said “his moral courage was evident in his passionate struggle against violence and injustice from all quarters”.
“It takes enormous courage to be a peacemaker and he was an apostle of mercy, whether as a curate, as a bishop or as chaplain in the Foyle Hospice.” He said Dr Daly “knew about murder and loss. He knew the years of conflict followed upon decades of terrible poverty and discrimination – as well as heroic generosity.
“He knew the enormous resilience of people who could face almost anything together.”
He concluded with: “Edward Kevin Daly, your time of faithful service is over. You have fought the good fight, you have run the race, you have kept the faith.”
Dr Daly was a 39-year old curate at St Eugene’s Cathedral when he joined a civil rights march in the city.
He was filmed, waving a blood-stained handkerchief, as he tried to assist mortally wounded 17-year-old Jackie Duddy, to whom he gave the Last Rites, after paratroopers opened fire on the unarmed marchers killing 13 civilians – a fourteenth man died later from his injuries.