Bishop Daly’s ministry coloured by ‘deep love’ for Derry people

Bishop Donal McKeown with the late Edward Daly. Picture Margaret McLaughlin
Bishop Donal McKeown with the late Edward Daly. Picture Margaret McLaughlin

Bishop Daly’s ministry was coloured by his “deep love” for the people of the Derry diocese, current Bishop Donal McKeown has said.

Bishop McKeown was speaking about his predecessor following his passing this morning at the age of 82 following a long-term illness.

Bishop McKeown said that during Bishop Daly’s long tenure in his adopted home he had “served, without any concern for himself, throughout the traumatic years of the Troubles, finding his ministry shaped by the experience of witnessing violence and its effects”.

“Through this dreadful period he always strove to preach the Gospel of the peace of Christ,” Bishop McKeown said.

“Bishop Daly provided an example of priestly ministry which was exemplary, inspired by service of God and the people he encountered.

“His ministry was characterised by his deep love of the people of this diocese, his dedicated visitation of parishes and his constant availability to others.

“The bishops, priests and people of the diocese were blessed to have such a dedicated and faithful priest among them.”

Bishop Daly was born in Belleek, County Fermanagh, in the Diocese of Clogher, on 5 December 1933. After primary education in Belleek, he attended St Columb’s College in Derry, and from there, he was sent, as a student for the Diocese of Derry, to prepare for priesthood in the Pontifical Irish College, Rome.

Bishop Daly was ordained on 16 March 1957, a priest of the Diocese of Derry. His first appointment was as a Curate in Castlederg, Co Tyrone. In 1962, he was appointed as a Curate in Saint Eugene’s Cathedral, Derry. In 1973, he was appointed Religious Advisor to RTÉ, Dublin. In 1974, he was ordained Bishop of Derry, where he served until serious illness compelled him to retire in 1994. In retirement, despite poor health, until earlier this year Bishop Daly continued to serve as a dedicated Chaplain to the Foyle Hospice, Derry, a ministry in which he touched the lives of so many people. He also served as Diocesan Archivist.