Latest: Bloody Sunday priest Edward Daly 'a merciful peacemaker', mourners hear

Latest: Bloody Sunday priest Edward Daly 'a merciful peacemaker', mourners hear

Update 6.27pm: Bloody Sunday priest Edward Daly was a courageous and merciful peacemaker, mourners at his funeral have been told.

The retired bishop of Derry was a young cleric when he raised a bloodstained white handkerchief as a symbol of ceasefire and tried to lead a mortally injured teenager to safety under a hail of Army fire in January 1972.

Latest: Bloody Sunday priest Edward Daly 'a merciful peacemaker', mourners hear

Irish President Michael D Higgins and Stormont Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness were among the mourners at his funeral at St Eugene's Cathedral in Derry, after he died on Monday aged 82.

Current Bishop of Derry Donal McKeown said: "He showed physical courage on Bloody Sunday and his moral courage was evident in his passionate struggle against violence and injustice from all quarters.

Latest: Bloody Sunday priest Edward Daly 'a merciful peacemaker', mourners hear

"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.

"For that courageous service of God and of his people, we give thanks today. We have all been blessed by it."

In later life the retired bishop was reluctant to discuss the moment that arguably best symbolised his Christian ministry; in death it has largely defined him.

As a young priest he famously waved the bloodied rag as he led a brave group bearing fatally injured civil rights protester Jackie Duddy, 17, to safety in Derry in Northern Ireland on Bloody Sunday.

Paratroopers had opened fire and killed 13 people. Fourteen were injured and another was to die later.

Bloody Sunday has been described as one of the catalysts of IRA recruitment and the 30-year conflict which left more than 3,000 dead and many others injured.

Two years later Dr Daly was appointed Bishop of Derry. He retired in 1993 due to ill health.

The cathedral was full with a thousand mourners. Up to 25,000 have visited St Eugene's, where the retired bishop has been reposing since his death on Monday.

During the ceremony clergy used the chalice presented to him by the people of his native Belleek in Co Fermanagh in 1957 to mark his ordination as a priest.

Latest: Bloody Sunday priest Edward Daly 'a merciful peacemaker', mourners hear

A sea of bishops wearing mitres behind a golden cross led the way into the cathedral.

Among them was Catholic Church leader of All-Ireland Eamon Martin - who was ordained by Dr Daly at St Eugene's 29 years ago - and former primate Sean Brady.

Archbishop Martin said: "There was never any doubt that Edward Daly was a great priest, a caring and compassionate pastor, a man of prayer and peace, a courageous and fearless leader - a special person."

A papal message lauding his dedication as a peacemaker was read to mourners.

Dr Daly had long friendships with former Church of Ireland primate Archbishop Robin Eames. And he was jointly granted the freedom of Derry with his Anglican counterpart James Mehaffey last year in recognition of their many years of co-operation in building a more united society.

He was buried in the cathedral grounds.

Update 3.51pm: A papal tribute to Bloody Sunday priest Edward Daly's dedication to peace and justice has been read out at his funeral today.

As a young cleric, who later became the Bishop of Derry, waved a blood-stained white rag as a symbol of ceasefire as he led a mortally injured teenage civil rights protester to safety under army fire in January 1972.

The peacemaker and staunch opponent of all violence died on Monday aged 82.

Irish President Michael D Higgins and Sinn Féin leader Martin McGuinness were among mourners at a Requiem Mass at St Eugene's Cathedral in Derry.

A message from a spokesman for Pope Francis said: "Recalling Bishop Daly's generous and dedicated episcopal ministry in the service of peace and justice, His Holiness joins you in prayerful thanksgiving for his life and in commending his soul to the merciful love of God Our Father."

The cleric's use of a white handkerchief during a massacre of innocent civil rights protesters by soldiers in Derry in Northern Ireland became an enduring image of the conflict.

As a young priest he famously led the brave group bearing fatally injured Jackie Duddy, 17, to safety.

Latest: Bloody Sunday priest Edward Daly 'a merciful peacemaker', mourners hear

Paratroopers had opened fire and killed 13 people. Fourteen were injured and another was to die later.

Bloody Sunday has been described as one of the catalysts of IRA recruitment and the 30-year conflict which left more than 3,000 dead and many others injured.

His funeral attracted a large crowd from across Ireland and beyond.

He will be buried in the cathedral grounds afterwards.

Earlier

The funeral of the former Bishop of Derry, Dr Edward Daly is underway at St Eugene's Cathedral this afternoon.

Dr Daly was featured in the iconic photo from the Bogside in 1972 as he ran to help victims of the Bloody Sunday shootings - waving a blood-stained handkerchief.

President Michael D Higgins joined the hundreds of mourners who have congregated for this afternoon's service.


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