In the last issue of "Creggan", we published a pictorial tribute to the memory of the late Cardinal Tomás ÓFiaich and we promised to pay a more adequate tribute to him in a future issue of the journal.
On this, the first anniversary of his death, we fulfil that promise.
Our task was made easy, due to the support and help of Mrs Deirdre Fee, Crossmaglen, the late Cardinal's sister-in-law.
Speaking on television after the funeral of the late Cardinal, Mrs Deirdre Fee said:
"…I remember about a year ago, he said to me - it was in no way prophetic, it had to do with somebody ... who had died - he just said how nice it would be when a person died if all those ... who knew him would put their thoughts and all the little things he said to them and all that they knew about him onto a little slip of paper and sent it to the right person. Now, in this case, if any of you would feel like doing that, I would be just so happy - if the people with their story, which is so important to them,... would send it to Dean McLarnon, who is now in charge of the situation ... I really do believe that is what he would want, as an historian. It would be important for him…"
As a result of Mrs Fee's suggestion, Dean Francis McLarnon received hundreds of letters about, and tributes to, the late Cardinal from all over Ireland and from abroad - proof, if any were needed, of the great affection in which he was universally held.
And, through the good offices of Mrs Fee, all these letters and tributes were put at my disposal, as editor of "Creggan".
I was spoiled for choice, as there was enough material to fill several journals.
In addition, Mrs Fee wrote to a number of people, who knew the late Cardinal well, requesting articles for our tribute.
On behalf of the Creggan Local History Society, 1 would like to thank Mrs Deirdre Fee and Dean Francis McLarnon and, of course, all our contributors.
Having known the late Cardinal since I was a boy, compiling this tribute to his memory was a labour of love for me.
It was also a deeply emotional experience and, on several occasions, as I typed the moving words of tribute into the word-processor, a lump came in my throat and tears welled-up in my eyes.
However, it has helped me to get over the shock of, and to come to terms with, the late Cardinal's sudden and unexpected death.
On behalf of the Creggan Local History Society, I dedicate this issue of "Creggan" to his memory - to the memory of the man from Creggan, described by five of our contributors as: "a good priest by another name called "... a man of great compassion "... a much loved man "... the greatest Irishman I have met and "... the last true Prince of Ulster
Finally, a special word of thanks to our printer - Liam Flynn, Dundalk - for his courtesy and patience and for his excellent workmanship on this, and previous issues of our journal.
Our thanks also to Liam's friendly and efficient staff.