by Stephen McBrearty in Belfast and Joanna Moorhead CHURCH and political leaders in Britain and Ireland have welcomed this week's announcement that 73-yearold Bishop Cahal Daly of Down and Connor is to succeed the late Cardinal Tomas 0 Fiaich as Primate of All Ireland.
The announcement, made simultaneously in Rome and Belfast, was followed by messages of congratulations and support from, amongst others, Cardinal Basil Hume of Westminster, Archbishop Derek Woriock of Liverpool and Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Brooke.
Cardinal Hume said he was "delighted" by the appointment. Bishop Daly, who has headed the diocese of Down and Connor for the past eight years, was "one of the outstanding bishops in Europe," said the cardinal, and brought great wisdom and much experience to his task.
Archbishop Worlock said the prelate was extremely widely regarded. "There is no Irishman
alive today held in greater or more widespread respect than Bishop Cahal Daly," he said. Mr Brooke said the archbishopelect was "widely respected throughout Northern Ireland for his resolute condemnation of violence, his concern for individual well-being and his long-standing efforts to bring about reconciliation." •
Bishop Daly himself, who accepted the primacy after being asked to take on the job by the Pope during the recent Synod of Bishops in Rome, said he was aware that he had taken on "a daunting task for the closing years of my life."
He said his "great continuing concern" would be to work for an end to the violence which afflicted the two communities of Northern Ireland. "We must continue to pray for peace, to speak of peace, to make peace, by being ourselves men and women of peace,” he said.
Archbishop-Elect Daly asked for prayers from clergy and churchgoers among the Protestant community as well as those of his own flock. "Sustained by those prayers, it is with a spirit of hope and confidence that I approach my new responsibility, knowing that with trust in God; we can do aft things," he said.
The new archbishop, who will be enthroned in Armagh Cathedral next month, is likely to be made a cardinal by the Pope within the next 12 months—his six predecessors have all been admitted to the College of Cardinals during their periods in office. Bishop Daly was born in 1917 in the Glens of Antrim, and educated at St Malachy's College in Belfast, where one of his classmates was the novelist Brian Moore.
He studied at Queen's University in Belfast before training for the priesthood at Maynooth, Ireland's national seminary.
After ordination in 1941, Bishop Daly taught at his old school before becoming a lecturer at Queen's. He then spent nearly 30 years in academic life before being
appointed bishop of the diocese of Ardagh and Clonmacnois in 1967.
Since 1982, as Bishop of Down and Connor, he has become widely known for his forthright and after hardhitting statements condemning the violence which scars Northern Ireland.
Bishop Daly's age macs him the oldest prelate to be appointed to Armagh or 170 years—at the time of Cardinal 0 Fiaich's death, in May, he was widely believed to be too old to he considered as a successor.