Four days of mourning have begun at St Eugene’s Cathedral in Derry in honour of the city’s best-known bishop, Edward ‘Eddie’ Daly.
The lifelong peace and justice campaigner, recognised internationally as the priest waving the bloodied white handkerchief while trying to help an injured teenager on Bloody Sunday, passed away in hospital yesterday morning at the age of 82.
Dr Daly was among the civil rights campaigners who gathered for the march through Derry’s Bogside on January 30, 1972, and he risked his life to crawl over the bullet-strewn streets to tend to 17-year-old Jackie Duddy, who lay dying after being shot in the back.
The photograph of him waving his handkerchief and pleading with paratroopers for safe passage to an ambulance became a powerful symbol of the atrocity, for which the British government finally apologised 38 years later.
Political, church, and community figures paid tribute to Dr Daly, who was described as a fearless peace-builder, a man of immense integrity, and a priest of the people. President Higgins said Dr Daly would be remembered for his “peaceful, compassionate, humanitarian, and courageous actions on Bloody Sunday” but said this was just one aspect of the “great contribution that was his life of service”.
Ill health forced him to retire early as bishop but he retained a great appetite for work and until recently was Foyle Hospice chaplain. People familiar with the hospice took to social media to give thanks for the laughter, banter, and comfort he brought to their loved ones.
Dr Daly arrived at St Eugene’s in 1962 and his remains were returned there yesterday for Mass, rosary, and night prayers, a ritual that will continue until Thursday at 3.30pm when his funeral Mass will begin.
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