I warmly congratulate Bishop Edward Daly and Bishop James Mehaffey on their extraordinary civic achievement in being awarded the Freedom of the City of Derry. This special accolade is a fitting tribute to their Christian ministry and leadership. It is also appropriate that this honour is being conferred on both men at the same time because for many years they have worked hard to build bridges in the City and, in doing so, together they both made a tangible difference to the lives of the people of Derry and beyond.
Although born in Beleek, Co Fermanagh, the people and the city of Derry hold a special place in Bishop Daly’s heart. Since boarding in Saint Columb’s College in the 1940s, the lion’s share of his exemplary life and ministry has been spent serving the people of Derry. This evening’s conferral of the Freedom of the City is a timely acknowledgement of his contribution to improving the lives of those on the margins of society. On a personal level I remember Bishop Daly as the man who ordained me to the priesthood in 1987, and who offered me great pastoral guidance in my first appointment as a curate in the Cathedral Parish in Derry, and thereafter. I wish to thank Bishop Eddie for his support and kindness, and may God continue to bless him in his ministry.
· Archbishop Eamon Martin is Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland
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