SDLP Foyle MP Mark Durkan has expressed his deep sadness at the death of veteran civil rights and community activist Paddy ‘Bogside’ Doherty – describing him as a ‘lion of civic ambition and community ethic’ who had a huge pride in his city, its hinterland and its history, and an even bigger heart for its people.
Mr Durkan said: “I mourn the sad death of Paddy Doherty after an illness which he bore so bravely.
“The whole city will join Paddy’s family in their loss of a man of such warm inspiration and fond care.
“Paddy Doherty was a lion of civic ambition and community ethic. He was a true pioneer of methods of engagement and enablement which found wider practice with the development of the peace process.
“This was a man who could see problems but also recognised potential. His special ethic was to redress problems by releasing the potential, which was his working method in the Inner City Trust, during the Civil Rights years and founding of the Credit Union, the Derry Youth & Community Workshop and other initiatives and efforts he gave or lent himself.
“Paddy had a huge pride in his city, its hinterland and its history, and an even bigger heart for its people.
“He had dreams which he could turn into schemes, all driven by his ambition for the city and people he loved.
“He was a natural transformer who used change to enable more change.
“He could marshal his rightful indignation into purposeful initiative and recruit involvement to make things happen.
“He mixed a sense of mischief with achievement summed up in the adage that it is better to seek forgiveness than permission.
“Paddy liked to remind me that I had called him ‘a prophet’ many years ago. Today, as we witness how the City Walls are a shared asset enjoyed by visitors, the renaissance of the Columba legacy, the vibrant renewal of heritage properties and cultural pulse in the Walled City, we should recognise that many of this prophet’s hopes have been realised in his own city.
“But he would also want to hear us urging for more so that the experiences of future generations could match his expectations for Derry and its citizens.”