Not enough attention has been paid to the parents of those killed in the Troubles, the retired Bishop of Derry, Dr. Edward Daly, has told the funeral Mass of Lawrence MeElhinney - the last surviving parent of the victims of Bloody Sunday.
Mr. McElhinney (86) - whose teenage son Kevin was among those murdered in the Bogside on January 30, 1972 - passed away at his Philip Street home at the weekend after a short illness.
Dr. Daly described the father of five as a “good, decent, dignified, honourable and delightful” man.
He told this morning’s Requiem Mass at St. Patrick’s Church, Pennyburn: “I often feel that not enough attention has been paid to the parents of the many victims of our conflict here.
“The grief of a parent who loses a son or daughter is a particular kind of grief. It is not in the natural scheme of things that a son or daughter should die before a parent. It is certainly not in the natural scheme of things that a parent should experience the murder or violent death of their son or daughter.”
Dr. Daly said some of his most poignant memories of the “terrible years of conflict” were the experiences of breaking terrible news to unsuspecting parents and the grief that they subsequently experienced.
He said: “Some of my most heartbreaking memories are recalling the grief of parents at funerals... When the ultimate history of our conflict is written, I hope that the parents of victims will be given their rightful place. Theirs is and was a unique sadness, a special degree of sadness and loss, the intensity of which can often be forgotten by the rest of us.”