Edward Daly, priest in defining image of Bloody Sunday, dies | News | DW | 08.08.2016
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Edward Daly, priest in defining image of Bloody Sunday, dies

The priest who waved a white bloodstained handkerchief after British troops opened fire on Catholic protesters in Derry has died. A photograph of the incident ranks as one of the most enduring images of "The Troubles."

Edward Daly, who spent 19 years as Bishop of Derry and decades as a peace campaigner, died early on Monday, a statement from the Irish Bishops' Conference said.

Daly acquired hero status, in part, for administering last rites to the dying and injured amid the carnage on the streets of Derry's Bogside district.

However, it was the photograph of him leading a group that carried a dying 17-year-old to safety that became iconic. A television camera captured the images after British paratroopers had opened fire on a crowd of Catholics on a protest march, killing 13 of them.

An initial inquiry outraged Northern Ireland's Catholic community with a finding that the victims could have been armed.

However, the Fermanagh-born cleric's testimony about the events of January 30, 1970, otherwise known as Bloody Sunday, helped sway public opinion to the side of the protesters.

Mural showing the scene from Bloody Sunday

The scene is so well known it even featured on one of the city's murals

Although his version - that the killings had been completely unjustified - was rejected by authorities at the time, it was declared accurate in 2010, after a 12-year inquiry that led to an apology from then Prime Minister David Cameron. The inquiry found that the soldiers had not been under attack and that many of the civilians they fired upon had been fleeing or helping the wounded.

"There's scarcely a day that passes when I don't think about that day," Daly said 25 years after the killings. "It's haunted me all these years."

The incident fueled anti-British sentiment and Irish nationalism in the mostly Catholic city.

Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness expressed his sorrow at the news via Twitter.

Daly had served as a priest in Derry from 1962 and became bishop in 1974. He stepped aside in 1994 after a stroke, but served for many years afterwards as chaplain to a hospice in the city.

He last made headlines in 2011, with a memoir in which he said that Roman Catholicism should allow priests to marry.

rc/msh (AP, dpa, AFP, Reuters)

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