turn out for Bishop's book launch
pays tribute to "truly remarkable" man
John Hume, paid a glowing tribute to the retired Bishop of Derry,
Most Rev. Dr. Edward Daly, at the launch of the Bishop's autobiography,
Mister, Are You a Priest?, at the Verbal Arts Centre this
600 people turned out for Tuesday evening's event which was attended
by family and friends of the bishop as well as key political,
clerical and business representatives from right across Ireland.
launch was delayed for more than half-an-hour as crowds patiently
queued for Dr Daly to sign copies of the book. Officially launching
the book, the first print of which is already almost sold out,
Mr Hume praised the former bishop's "outstanding contribution"
to the life of Derry.
will go down in history as someone who made a major contribution
to the development of this city and its people in the century
we have just left," said the SDLP leader, "We owe him a great
debt of gratitude." Mr Hume said he was in no doubt that the book,
which he described as outstanding, would top the best-sellers
lists across the country. "What particularly impressed me about
it was its down-to-earth quality - something which, I believe,
exemplifies Bishop Daly." The book, said Mr Hume, painted a powerful
and moving picture of life in Derry during the 1960s and 1970s.
"One of the
most powerful chapters in the book is the bishop's recollections
of Bloody Sunday, an event in which, as we all know, he had a
very direct and terrible experience."
Mr Hume pointed
out that it should never be forgotten that Dr Daly also played
a leading role in the theatrical, cultural and musical life of
much of his time to the preservation and development of this proud
tradition," he said. "Again we owe him a debt of gratitude for
this." "However, the outstanding feature of the book is the humility
of the man. As priest and bishop, Bishop Daly has had a massive
impact on the fabric of life in Derry. I'm ashamed to say that,
while he may be from Beleek, he has become a true Derry man."
Dr Daly himself admitted that writing the book had revived many
mixed memories, both of happy and sad times. "Writing the book
proved a strangely exciting and wonderfully fulfilling experience,"
"It was totally
unanticipated and unplanned. I never set out to write a book.
I just started writing a statement for the Saville Inquiry and
the book grew out of this. I have to say that it was an amazingly
therapeutic and relaxing experience." Recalling the deaths of
Annette McGavigan, Sammy Devenney and Jackie Duddy, Dr Daly said
each of them had had a very powerful impact on his life, both
as a priest and as a person. "Their deaths are etched indelibly
in my memory and on my soul," he said.
He said he
was enormously grateful and deeply honoured that John Hume had
agreed to launch the book. "John has been a wonderful friend and
a great source of inspiration to me and many others for a long
number of years," he said. Dr Daly also confirmed that he had
no plans at present to complete his memoirs.