DUBLIN — Roman Catholic Cardinal Cahal Daly, 92, a philosopher who led the church in Ireland during some of the worst years of IRA violence, died Thursday (Dec. 31, 2009), the church announced.
Tributes poured in from throughout Ireland and neighboring Britain to the charm and formidable intellect of Cardinal Daly, best known as a trenchant critic of the Irish Republican Army, the illegal paramilitary group rooted in Catholic areas that long sought to force Northern Ireland out of the United Kingdom.
Cardinal Daly served as bishop of Down and Connor, which includes Belfast, from 1982 to 1990 and frequently used that pulpit to denounce the killings and policies of the IRA and its allied Sinn Fein party.
He was widely credited with writing the key speech delivered by Pope John Paul II during his visit to Ireland in 1979, when the pontiff appealed to the IRA to end its campaign. The underground army called a cease-fire in 1994, broke it in 1996, then restored it for good a year later.
In 1990, Cardinal Daly was appointed archbishop of Armagh, the ecclesiastical capital of Ireland, from where he served as the church's leader in both parts of Ireland. He was elevated to cardinal in 1991 and retired in 1996.
He had been hospitalized recently with heart problems.