A priest who ministered in Creggan at the time of Bloody Sunday has expressed deep sorrow at the passing of the late Bishop of Derry, Dr Edward Daly.
Fr George McLaughlin told the ‘Journal’: “I have known Bishop Daly for 70 years since we were both students at St Columb’s College.
“We then became priests and after ordination I was one of the first priests in Creggan whilst he was in Castlederg.
“We always remained very close together over all those years. The ‘Troubles’ brought us even closer. We faced a lot of difficulties and problems together.
“He was a great man with tremendous courage and he was a great priest. He committed his life to serving his Lord and master. He was a man of absolute faith.
Whilst Bishop Daly became inextricably linked to the events of Bloody Sunday, as a priest in Creggan from where the victims were mourned, the events of January 30, 1972 were also permanently etched on Fr McLaughlin’s mind as well.
He said: “We were on different parts of the march that day-both of us experienced the shootings in different ways. It became a very awkward situation for him but he handled it tremendously well and I have always been very proud of him for that.
“When he was a curate in the Cathedral and I was in Creggan I introduced him to the Saturday matches at the Brandywell. We rarely missed a match.
“We travelled as far as Dublin and even to Glasgow for matches. Football always kept us in touch with each other. We went whether the games were played on a Staurday, then Sunday’s and then Friday night’s
“ And, whether they won or lost we always went back.
He was a great man with tremendous courageI feel very lonely today that he has passed on-Fr George McLaughlin
“He was great company and a happy man and had a great way of looking at things. He always received people very graciously-he had a great approach to people and I admired that very much about him.”
When he retired as Bishop of Derry in the 1990s, Dr Daly took on the role of Chaplain to the Foyle Hospice-a role to which he selflessly devoted his time to.
Fr McLaughlin said: “When he was Chaplain at the Hospice, I would have called to his home too see him.
“His health wasn’t as it might be. He knew for a while that his life was closing in on him. However, he was prepared to face what was coming.
“I feel very lonely today that he has passed on because he was always on the end of the phone if you needed a luagh or cheered up.
“His work as a priest in Derry and as Bishop will always be remembered.
“He is at his peace today with the Lord.”