Thursday 17 October 2019

Irish Archbishop pays tribute to Seamus Hegarty

The former Bishop of Derry died in hospital at the age of 79.

By Rebecca Black, PA

The Catholic Archbishop of Ireland has paid tribute to the late Seamus Hegarty.

The former Bishop of Derry and Raphoe died at the age of 79 at Letterkenny Hospital in his native Donegal on Friday following an illness.

Dr Hegarty led the diocese of Derry from 1994 to 2011, before retiring due to ill health.

Archbishop Eamon Martin expressed his sadness, recalling Dr Hegarty’s dedication to helping Irish emigrants and their families, as well as his passion for education and efforts to nurture the peace process.

Tributes have been paid to Dr Hegarty from politicians, including Sinn Fein Foyle MP Elisha McCallion and SDLP leader Colum Eastwood.

Meanwhile former Church of Ireland bishop Ken Good added his tribute to Dr Hegarty.

“A former teacher, like myself, he led his two dioceses, Raphoe and Derry, at a very difficult time in the history of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland.

“I, more than most, am aware of how challenging church leadership can be – at whatever point in history and whatever one’s denomination,” he said.

Dr Hegarty became embroiled in controversy at one stage over his response to the issue of clerical child abuse.

He apologised for historical poor practice.

“I am deeply sorry that anyone was hurt through my management of allegations historically,” he stated in 2011.

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