December 31, 2009 / 9:23 PM / 10 years ago

Former Irish primate, IRA critic, dies aged 92

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Cahal Daly, the former head of the Roman Catholic Church on the island of Ireland and outspoken critic of IRA militants who fought British control of Northern Ireland, has died aged 92, the Irish church and government said.

A theological expert and lecturer in philosophy, Daly served as Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland from 1990 until he retired in 1996 to focus on his writings about the peace process in Northern Ireland and philosophy.

Daly, who died after treatment at the coronary intensive care unit of a Belfast hospital, was one of the church’s strongest critics of the methods of the mainly Catholic Irish Republican Army (IRA) during three decades of violence.

Irish broadcaster RTE said Daly, as a child in Northern Ireland, saw the IRA burn his home during an attack on police next door. As a bishop, he later helped craft Pope John Paul’s appeal to the IRA to embrace peaceful methods during the pontiff’s visit to Ireland in 1979.

Reporting by Andras Gergely, editing by Mark Trevelyan

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