Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin TD has expressed his sadness at the passing of the retired Bishop of Derry, Dr Edward Daly ahead of his funeral mass this afternoon.

Deputy Martin said, “Bishop Daly held an important role in the church during the darkest days of the Troubles. He held firm to his belief in peace in the midst of bleak sectarian hatred. The iconic image of him courageously leading the mortally wounded Jackie Duddy to cover during the chaos of Bloody Sunday is forever seared into Irish history. It captured a priest steadfast in his commitment to his people in the teeth of danger and hopelessness.

“His commitment to building a peaceful consensus in Northern Ireland endured the worst days of violence. He served as one of the youngest Bishops in Europe and his voice was a positive force in efforts to overcome the spiral of hatred consuming the province. In practical terms he led the way in efforts aimed at revitalising Derry City centre, embodying a Ministry that aimed to have a real impact on the ground in the lives of his parishioners. He also gave comfort to hundreds of people and families coping with loss through his work in the Foyle Hospice.

“Bishop Daly’s humane compassion illuminated his whole life. His loss will be felt by the city of Derry and across this island by all those who benefit from the fruits of peace. His message of peace and compassion will endure.

“Ar dheis De go raibh a anam.”