A former Derry community worker has paid tribute to Bishop Daly’s contribution to helping those affected by intense harassment by security forces during the Troubles.
Frankie McMenamin said that Bishop Daly was “very passionate” about the people of the city, and had often been helpful in resolving situations.
At that time, Mr McMenamin said, he was a member of Community for Justice- a group set up to draw attention to the ill treatment of those who were ‘lifted’ or interrogated by the British security forces, and to homes being raided in the city.
Mr McMenamin added: “In the 1980s and early 1990s I was in touch with him regularly to talk about young people getting harassed by security forces at that time.
“I asked him could he do something about it, He was always respectful and he did a lot to help the young people in Derry,” Mr McMenamin said. “He did things behind the scenes to help. He was a good man and he was very passionate about the people of Derry.
“We did a mural back in 1995 in the Bogside in memory of the people who died on Bloody Sunday and also to pay tribute to the bravery of him and a number of other people who walked through the paratroopers with young Duddy. There were a number of artists involved, and he was very moved by it.”
As well as the mural paying tribute to him, Dr Daly was also afforded the rare honour of being given the Freedom of Derry alongside his friend and fellow cleric, Church of Ireland Bishop Dr James Mehaffey, at a ceremony in the Guildhall in March 2015.
There was a standing ovation for the two men during the ceremony. Speaking during the ceremony, Bishop Daly said his previous 53 years in Derry had been “for me an incredible experience”.
He said: “I was shocked and terrified during the years of conflict; those years provided me with great challenges personally that I found daunting and sometimes shocking; sometimes terrifying; and then for the last 21 years I have served in the Foyle Hospice- those years spent in that remarkable place have been for me an edifying and life-enhancing experience.”
There was also laughter as he spoke about how when he first came to Derry many streets didn’t have a phone between them whereas today “most people over 10 years of age have a powerful micro-computer in their hand”.