Northern Ireland

Dr Edward Daly: Bloody Sunday priest was 'courageous peacemaker'

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Media captionKey moments in the life of Edward Daly, the former bishop of Derry

Bloody Sunday priest Edward Daly showed "enormous courage to be a peacemaker", mourners at his funeral have been told.

The former Bishop of Derry died on Monday, aged 82.

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Media captionBishop Daly's sister Anne Gibson said he had been a "father figure" to her when she was a child

Bishop Donal McKeown told the congregation at St Eugene's Cathedral in Londonderry that the retired bishop was an "an apostle of mercy".

An image of the then Father Daly waving a blood-stained white handkerchief on Bloody Sunday in Derry in 1972 became an enduring image of the Troubles.

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Media captionBBC Cameraman Cyril Cave recalls the moment he filmed 'iconic' footage of Edward Daly

"His moral courage was evident in his passionate struggle against violence and injustice," Bishop McKeown said.

"It takes enormous courage to be a peacemaker, and he was an apostle for mercy, whether as a curate, as a bishop, or as a chaplain in the Foyle Hospice."

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Media captionBishop Donal McKeown said Dr Daly's ministry was marked by a "total dedication to the people that he served"

On Bloody Sunday, Fr Daly waved a bloodied handkerchief as he led a group of people who were carrying the dying body of Jack Duddy, one of 13 people were killed when British paratroopers opened fire on a civil rights march through Derry.

Bishop McKeown told thousands of mourners that love had transformed Dr Daly's "blood-stained piece of cloth" into an "unforgettable symbol of divine compassion".

"Today, we are grateful for Edward Daly and thousands of others across our community and churches who took risks and paid the price that peace might take roots in our hearts and communities," Bishop McKeown added.

A message from Pope Francis was read at the beginning of the service.

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Image caption The funeral at St Eugene's Cathedral was led by Bishop of Derry Donal McKeown

It 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."

Irish President Michael D Higgins attended the funeral and said Dr Daly was a "very fine, decent man who made his way into the hearts of the people of this city".

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Image caption Dr Daly was a "compassionate person in difficult times", Irish President Michael D Higgins said

"I'm so pleased to have had the privilege as president of Ireland to come and recognise a great Irishman, a great human being and a such great, compassionate person in difficult times," he added.

Dr Daly was a curate at the Londonderry cathedral on Bloody Sunday, having been a priest in the city since 1962.

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Image caption Mourners applauded as Dr Daly's coffin was carried from the cathedral

He was appointed Bishop of Derry in 1974.

He was forced into full retirement in 1994 after he suffered a stroke, but he continued in the role of chaplain to Derry's Foyle Hospice until February this year.

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Image caption Former SDLP leader John Hume was among several high-profile political figures at the funeral

A number of political and church leaders from across the island of Ireland attended Thursday's service, including Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and former Social Democratic and Labour Party leaders John Hume and Mark Durkan.

The Derry musician Phil Coulter was also present.

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Image caption Cardinal Sean Brady and Archbishop Eamon Martin were among those who attended the funeral

Bishop Daly made headlines in 2011 when he said there needed to be a place in the modern Catholic Church for married priests

He addressed the controversial issue in A Troubled See, his book about his life in the church.

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Image caption Dr Daly will be remembered as "the priest with the white handkerchief" at Bloody Sunday

Allowing clergymen to marry would ease the church's problems, he said.

The bishop received the Freedom of the City of Derry in 2015.

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