Strong faith drove civil rights activist

Strong faith drove civil rights activist

A strong sense of faith inspired veteran Derry civil rights campaigner Paddy ‘Bogside’ Doherty, according to tributes paid to the 89-year-old who died at home last week following an illness.

Paddy Doherty was a driving force behind the Inner City Trust which rebuilt many of the buildings in Derry destroyed during the Troubles. His close friend, Bishop Edward Daly, told The Irish Catholic that while Paddy was a builder by trade “he built more than houses and public buildings, he had a great capacity to build people”.

Bishop Daly said his philosophy “was based on giving young people a sense of ownership of their own city and involving unskilled young people under supervision in building the city again”. “At a time when young people were very demoralised and very negative in the city, he gave them their self-esteem and a sense of worth. I think that was one of his greatest achievements – he gave people a belief,” he said.

Giving the funeral homily in St Eugene’s Cathedral on Saturday, Fr Paul Farren said we need “people like Paddy again who are grounded in their faith – committed to their families and who have the confidence and generosity to commit to the common good and make society a better place and a place that stands for what is right and good”.

Fr Farren said it was Paddy’s faith that “gave him the confidence to do all that he did in this city over his lifetime”. “Paddy’s foundation in life was his faith,” he said.

CofI Bishop of Derry & Raphoe, Ken Good said Paddy Doherty was a “towering figure in the life of this city and community”. SDLP Foyle MP Mark Durkan described him as a “lion of civic ambition and community ethic” and a “true pioneer of methods of engagement and enablement which found wider practice with the development of the peace process”.