Edward Daly (bishop)

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The Right Reverend
Bishop Edward Daly
Bishop Emeritus of Derry
Church Catholic Church
See Derry
In office 1974 – 1994;
Predecessor Neil Farren
Successor Séamus Hegarty
Personal details
Born (1933-12-05) 5 December 1933 (age 81)
Styles of
Edward Daly
Mitre (plain).svg
Reference style The Most Reverend
Spoken style Your Lordship or Bishop
Religious style Bishop
Posthumous style not applicable

Edward Daly, D.D. (born 5 December 1933, Belleek, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland) was the Roman Catholic Bishop of Derry from 1974 to 1993.

Early life and priestly ministry[edit]

Daly (right) on Bloody Sunday

Born in Belleek in County Fermanagh, Edward is the older brother of former politician Tom Daly.[1]

He was a boarder at St. Columb's College in Derry. He studied for the priesthood in the Irish College in Rome. Before taking on the role of bishop he was a curate in the parish of St Eugene's Cathedral in the Diocese of Derry, which incorporated the Bogside area of Derry City, where he experienced The Troubles in Northern Ireland first hand.

During his time in Derry, he took part in the Civil Rights marches; he had first hand experience of the Battle of the Bogside in 1969, the early years of The Troubles, internment, the events of Bloody Sunday 1972 and Operation Motorman. The image of the then Fr. Daly leading a group carrying the dying Jackie Duddy through the streets of Derry in search of aid whilst waving a white handkerchief on Bloody Sunday is famous around the world.[2]

Bishop of Derry (1974–93)[edit]

Bishop Daly worked with RTÉ in Dublin as a Religious Adviser. He has appeared on numerous television programmes and contributed to many television documentaries on religious and Northern Ireland affairs.

Bishop Daly's Motto Pasce Oves Meas means "Pastor my sheep". The crest with the oak tree and the dove symbolises the wish for a new flowering of peace and strengthening of faith in the city of St. Colmcille and the See of St. Eugene.

Daly retired from his position as Bishop of Derry in October 1993, after suffering a stroke, and took up a post as chaplain to Foyle Hospice. His autobiography, Mister, Are you a Priest?, documents his life. He is also author of Do Not Let Your Hearts Be Troubled, co-author of The Clergy of the Diocese of Derry: an Index and has contributed an essay to A History of the Diocese of Derry. He was succeeded as prelate in the diocese by Bishop Séamus Hegarty. Daly is a supporter of Derry City F.C.[3]

2010 Claudy bombing report[edit]

In August 2010, Bishop Daly questioned the report into the Claudy bombing by the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland and criticised media coverage of it. Bishop Daly queried Al Hutchinson’s report, which said the Catholic Church co-operated with the British government to remove a priest suspected of involvement in the bombing in 1972. He further doubted involvement by Fr James Chesney in the bomb attack on the County Londonderry village, which killed nine people, the youngest aged just eight. Bishop Daly said his experience of the Troubles and of high-profile miscarriages of justice had bred a “constructive scepticism”. “I have seen convictions based on signed admissions and forensic evidence completely overturned years later,” he said. “Fr Chesney was never arrested, questioned, charged or convicted. He cannot answer for himself. He has been dead 30 years.”[4]

2011 celibacy controversy[edit]

In September 2011 Catholic News Service[5] published an article in which it stated that Bishop Daly had addressed the issue of celibacy in his new book, A Troubled See, and that Bishop Daly had called for an end to compulsory celibacy for Roman Catholic priests. Bishop Daly said that "there is certainly an important and enduring place for celibate priesthood. But I believe that there should also be a place in the modern Catholic Church for married priesthood and for men who do not wish to commit themselves to celibacy."[6] He was criticised afterwards for waiting until he had been retired for 18 years to make his statements: one former seminarian said, "I would far rather he did it when he was still in ministry and was in a position where he would have to be listened to." Bishop Daly has also been criticised for publicly putting himself at odds with Pope Benedict's own statements on the issue.


While in office, Bishop Daly was fully styled as His Lordship The Most Rev. Edward Daly, D.D., Lord Bishop of Derry. Since leaving office, he has been fully styled as His Lordship The Most Rev. Edward Daly, D.D., Lord Bishop Emeritus of Derry.


  • Edward Daly (2004). Do Not Let Your Hearts Be Troubled: Thoughts on Ministry to the Terminally Ill. Veritas. ISBN 1-85390-825-8. 
  • Edward Daly (2000). Mister, Are you a Priest?. Four Courts. ISBN 1-85182-591-6. 
  • Edward Daly, Kieran Devlin (1997). The Clergy of the Diocese of Derry: an Index. Four Courts. ISBN 1-85182-335-2. 


  1. ^ "The John Hume Show", Magill, 1 March 1984
  2. ^ Daly: Bloody day changed my life, Daily Mirror, 27 March 2007
  3. ^ Mahon, Eddie (1998). Derry City, Guildhall Press, p. 149.
  4. ^ Former Derry bishop takes issue with Claudy report
  5. ^ Irish Bishop suggest another look at celibacy Catholic News Service, 15 September 2011
  6. ^ Bishop Edward Daly's celibacy silence slammed by Donna Deeney, 14 September 2011

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Neil Farren
Bishop of Derry
1974 – 1994
Succeeded by
Dr. Séamus Hegarty