Outspoken critic of violence who bridged religious divide
Published 02/01/2010 | 05:00
The death of Cardinal Cahal Brendan Daly from cardiac failure in a Belfast hospital, aged 92, marks the passing of the most important and internationally renowned Irish Church leader during the turbulent period from the late 1960s until his retirement as Primate of All Ireland in 1996.
Small of stature but with a capacious brain, his most cherished personal memory was listening to Pope John Paul II at Drogheda, Co Louth, in 1979 when the Polish pontiff appealed to the IRA, "on my knees", to end its armed struggle, using the emotional words for peace scripted by Daly, then Bishop of Down and Connor.
Long an unpopular, even detested figure in republican circles during the Troubles, Dr Daly was an outspoken critic of Provisional IRA and loyalist paramilitary violence. Along with then Church of Ireland Primate, Archbishop Robin Eames, he was to the fore in breaking down denominational barriers between the two communities, the Catholic and Protestant 'tribes' which they represented.