07/01/2020

Tributes Paid To Former Bishop Of Derry & Raphoe

Tributes have been paid to the former Church of Ireland Bishop of Derry and Raphoe Dr James Mehaffey who died on Monday evening.

The 88 year-old was at home with family when he passed away.

A well known figure in the area, Bishop Mehaffey led the diocese of Derry and Raphoe for over twenty years and frequently officiated at funerals of those killed in the Troubles.

Throughout his career, Dr Mehaffey also forged a close bond with his Catholic counterpart, the late Dr Edward Daly.

SDLP Leader and Foyle MP Colum Eastwood said their friendship was a symbol of the power of partnership and reconciliation.

Paying tribute to Dr Mehaffey, Mr Eastwood said: "His ministry was a constant source of hope during the darkest days of conflict and under the immense burden that violence brought to our city.
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"The defining friendship between Bishop Mehaffey and Bishop Daly, two people from different traditions who saw the best in each other and in our communities, was an enduring symbol of the power of partnership and reconciliation to shape lasting change. They lived the Christian values that they preached every day - generosity, compassion and an inextinguishable love for this city and everyone who lives here. I know they were incredibly proud, and deeply humbled, to receive the freedom of Derry together in 2015.

"His work as a founding member of the Inner City Trust will leave a lasting legacy on this city and helped, in the midst of immense destruction, to heal the scars of conflict.

"My thoughts are with his wife Thelma, their children Wendy and Tim and their whole family and wide circle of friends at this difficult time. I hope they are comforted by the pride that this city takes in James' memory."

Sinn Fein MLA Karen Mullan expressed great sadness at Dr Mehaffey's passing. She said: "During his tenure as Bishop of Derry and Raphoe and throughout his retirement he struck up lasting friendships from across society and was an inspiration to everyone.

"His commitment to promoting peace and reconciliation in the city won him many friends and admirers and he will be sadly missed by all.

"My thoughts are with his family and friends and all who knew him at this sad time."



(JG/CM)

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