Several hundred people gathered inside St Eugene’s Cathedral in Derry this afternoon for the funeral of Paddy ‘Bogside’ Doherty-one of the iconic figures of the civil rights movement and the ‘Free Derry’ era of the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Mr Doherty passed away in the early hours of Thursday morning, January 7, 2015.
Paddy ‘Bogside’ as he was affectionately known was in his 89th year and would have reached his 90th birthday in March this year. The funeral cortege left the family home at number 10 Westland Street at around 11.45am this morning followed by his family and many dozens of mourners.
Those in attendance at the funeral included John Hume and his wife Pat, Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, MP for Foyle, Mark Durkan, the Mayor of Derry and Strabane, Councillor Elisha McCallion and Sinn Fein MEP Martina Anderson, former Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly, Mitchel McLaughlin and former SDLP MLA John Tierney.
The cortege moved down Westland Street and into Rossville Street befoe poignantly pausing for a brief period at Free Derry Corner. Mr Doherty was also a founding member of the Credit union organisation in Derry and the funeral procession then passed adjacent to the Credit Union building in Abbey Street before making its way through the Little Diamond and into the grounds of St Eugene’s Cathedral.
A green flag emblazoned with a gold harp that had been placed over his coffin outside his house was removed before entering St Eugene’s for his funeral Mass which began at 12.30pm. The church was thronged with mourners with many dozens standing in the only spaces left available.
Administrator of St Eguene’s Cathedral, Fr Paul Farren told mourners that: “Paddy Doherty was baptised in this church almost 90 years ago and at his baptism God declared ‘my favour rests with you’. It was this that gave Paddy the confidence to achieve all that he did.”
Fr Farren also recalled that Paddy Doherty, whilst a builder by trade did more than construct buildings, he also helped build communities and gave young people self-esteem in a time when it was in short supply.
Following Mass the flag was placed back over Mr Doherty’s coffin and his remains were placed in the hearse. The cortege then proceeded from the Cathedral to the City Cementery where Mr Doherty’s remains were interred.