Thousands pay tribute to former bishop Edward Daly

Cleric remembered as a ‘man of peace, a man of his word’ at St Eugene’s Cathedral in Derry

Parishioners and well-wishers pay their respects to the late former bishop of Derry Dr Edward Daly, as he lies in state at St Eugene’s Cathedral in Derry, Northern Ireland. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Thousands of people have flocked to Derry city centre to pay their respects to the former bishop Dr Edward Daly, following his death on Monday.

Tributes were paid to Fr Daly at St Eugene’s Cathedral, where his remains will lie in repose until his funeral on Thursday afternoon.

Andy Patton, from Sion Mills in Co Tyrone, said he first got to know Fr Daly in 1974 following the formation of the Ulster Project.

"The project was about taking young people from different religious backgrounds from conflict areas in Northern Ireland to the US where they lived with host families for a month.


“Fr Daly as I knew him was a great supporter of the project and encouraged us in our work.

“Upon their return from the US the kids who went there were encouraged to influence their peers. Fr Daly was very supportive from day one.

“It gives me great pride to say that none of the thousands of young people we took with us on the project ever became involved in paramilitary organisations and Bishop Daly has to take a lot of the credit for that.”

Brothers Joe and Paddy Gallagher from Derry said Fr Daly had been part of their lives for more than 40 years.

"I know about this iconic image from Bloody Sunday, but he was more than that. He was a man of peace, a man of his word, who did so much to hold things together in this society when things were very bad," said Joe Gallagher.

"The work he did throughout the Troubles, especially during the hunger strikes, must have taken their toll on his health. He always worked along with John Hume for peace and now he has found peace at last," said Paddy Gallagher.

Maureen Hegarty, who took part in many of the pantomimes and Sunday night shows organised by Fr Daly in the 60s and 70s, said she called him several weeks ago.

“I didn’t realise how ill he was. I called him to tell him my sister Sheila McClean was seriously ill in the Foyle Hospice.

“Even though he was not well himself, he went to visit Sheila in the hospice and I can tell you that that meant a lot to her,” she said.

Daly’s secretary

Fr Daly's secretary during his 20 years as Bishop of Derry was Colette Hynes.

She recalled at the cathedral how she was interviewed by him in 1974.

“I got a phone call asking me to come up to the parochial house. I was just off the golf course and covered in mud.

“He told me to come ahead on up. I didn’t know what he wanted me to do and he said he wanted me to type for him. I told him I didn’t even have a typewriter.

“ I asked him, ‘What does a bishop’s secretary do?’, and he replied, ‘I don’t know, I’ve never been a bishop before’.Things developed from then. We just built it up together.

“We had many good times and many dark days, especially during the hunger strikes. They really took a lot out of him.

“At that time he would get threatening phone calls calling him an IRA lover and things I could not repeat. One of the callers used to phone me every Thursday afternoon and say, ‘We’re coming to get him’.

“Fr Daly said it was nice of the caller to let him know.

“I asked him how could he forgive people who threatened him like that and he always replied the same way, ‘If you don’t forgive people you are only hurting yourself’.

“He was not a boss, he was more like a work colleague. If he was busy I’d make the coffee and if I was busy he’d make the coffee.

“The one thing I failed to do with him was to teach him how to play bridge. I tried several times with friends but he always said, ‘No, it’s too slow for me’. I still cannot take it in that he is dead.”