God rest Mrs. Doherty’s brave and noble Irish soul by Fr Sean McManus

Letter to Editor. Irish News. Belfast. Published Thursday, August 15, 2019.

THE article on the death of Margaret Doherty, mother of the 1981 hunger striker Kieran Doherty, brought back memories of a sad time(August 9).

I had the honor and privilege of being of a little service to the Doherty family when Kieran died.

When his body was brought back to his home, I attended his wake. I was asked by a man if I would say a prayer and lead a decade of the Rosary. I replied, of course, if that is the wish of Kieran’s parents and colleagues. I was assured it was, and I led the packed home in the Glorious Mystery of The Resurrection. I concluded by blessing with the ‘Sign of the Cross’ Kieran’s body, ending with: “God rest his brave and noble Irish soul.”

On leaving the Doherty home, I said hello to Gerry Adams for the first time and shook his hand.

I was accompanied to the wake by the late Dennis Dillon, district attorney, Nassau County, NY and Peter King, the future Congressman. Both men were in Belfast with me because the Irish National Caucus had brought them to Ireland for a conference on Plastic Bullets, organized by the late Fr. Denis Faul. (Peter King told me this was his very first visit to Ireland). The following day, all three of us attended the funeral of Kieran Doherty.

After we left the hotel in west Belfast where the three of us were staying, the hotel was blown up. The manager of the hotel would call me later when I was back in Washington, telling me that the Irish National Caucus check which I had used to pay for the stay had been destroyed in the explosion. And, of course, I sent him a new check.

God rest Mrs. Doherty’s brave and noble Irish soul.

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