The Bishop of Derry and Raphoe, Ken Good, has congratulated his predecessor, Dr James Mehaffey, and the former Bishop of Derry, Dr Edward Daly, on being jointly honoured with Freedom of the City.
The honour was bestowed by members of Derry City Council at a special meeting of the City Council. It was one of the council’s last formal acts before merging with Strabane District Council at the beginning of April.
Bishop Good said: “This honour is richly deserved by Bishop Mehaffey and Bishop Daly. Their warm and enduring friendship sustained and encouraged the people of this diocese, and beyond, during the darkest days of the Troubles. They have been tireless champions for peace and reconciliation.
“Bishop Daly and Bishop Mehaffey have shown us, by their example, how to hold clear convictions and yet respect the viewpoint of others. They have taught us that difference need not be a barrier to friendship.
“They have proved that we can achieve more together than apart. That message was critically important three decades ago, when this community was tearing itself apart, and it remains just as relevant today,” he said.
“It is fitting that the decision to confer the Freedom of the City upon the two bishops was taken unanimously by the City Council. That is a measure of the progress that has been made in this city and community in recent decades.
“I hope that the Bishops’ enduring friendship will continue to inspire others, in the churches, the community and in politics, to follow their example and work for peace,” he said.
Bishop Good added: “I applaud the City Council for its generosity in acknowledging so publicly the efforts of two of our community’s great peace-builders.”
Meanwhile, the Moderator of the Derry and Donegal Presbytery, Rev Mark Shaw and Clerk, Rev Dr Robert Buick of Derry and Donegal Presbytery, have offered their congratulations to the retired Bishops on being awarded the Freedom of the City.
They said: “This rare honour recognises the important role which both of these ministers have had over many years in the life of this city, particularly during ‘the Troubles’ and their efforts at promoting reconciliation between the communities, as well as pastoring to the needs of their flocks and the wider community.
“We wish them both well for the future,” they said.