Bishop Edward Daly: A 'father figure' to many people

Bishop Daly's coffin at St Eugenes Cathedral
Image caption Bishop Daly arriving at St Eugene's Cathedral in Derry

The nephew of the former Catholic Bishop of Derry, Dr Edward Daly, has described him as a loving and inspirational man.

Dr Daly, 82, died in hospital on Monday with his family by his bedside.

Hundreds of people came out to pay their respect as his remains were taken to St Eugene's Cathedral. His funeral Mass will take place on Thursday.

Gerard Daly, who grew up in Galway, said he was 'humbled' by tributes to his uncle.

"It's been very moving coming here to Derry," said Mr Daly.

"We always knew the great work that he'd done here and how close he was to people, but you really only get a sense of that when you are speaking to people, when you hear the tributes.

Image caption Dr Daly retired as chaplain to Derry's Foyle Hospice last year

"People knew him as bishop, as a man to the people of Derry, but he shared the warmth that he had for everybody. Everybody was his family.

"As a young boy myself, he was a giant to me. He loved children, he always loved having fun, having a joke."

'Dark hours'

The photograph of the then Fr Daly waving a handkerchief over one of the Bloody Sunday victims, became one of the most enduring images of the Troubles.

"I always had a great sense of pride and it was very, very humbling - almost intimidating - to think that here was a man in my family, my blood, who really put it up to us in terms of how to live your life. It's inspiring," said Mr Daly said.

Image caption Dr Daly gave Phil Coulter one of his very first paid gigs

One of those to pay tribute to Dr Daly was the Derry-born singer songwriter Phil Coulter. He said Bishop Daly had helped him through some very "dark" moments.

"Edward was a man who operated on so many different levels. He was a very caring priest, he was a great friend of my family," he said.

"When my brother and sister drowned in Lough Swilly, one of the first people through the door would have been Bishop Daly.

"I knew him through all of those dark hours. I knew him through some of my more high-profile days when he was always a great supporter when things were going in a more successful way."

'Father figure'

Mr Daly revealed that in recent years he had made an effort to get close to his uncle.

"His brother, my father, passed nine years ago and, I suppose, since that time he has certainly become a father figure to me.

"I've really enjoyed making the journey to Derry, going to the house and having a cup of tea and a chat with Edward.

"Sometimes just to be able to sit in his presence was a lovely experience."

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