Northern Ireland news

Three months before her death, Bloody Sunday victim Peggy Deery had buried son in high-profile funeral

Peggy Deery died in January 1988
Seamus McKinney

THREE months before she died from a heart attack, Peggy Deery attended the funeral of her son Paddy (31), who was killed along with another IRA man, Eddie McSheffrey, when the bomb they were transporting exploded prematurely.

The father-of-three’s funeral in November 1987 would be one of the most harrowing witnessed in the Troubles.

Earlier that year, Bishop of Derry Edward Daly had ruled that the remains of IRA members should not be allowed inside churches during Requiem Mass.

It came after a volley of shots had been fired in the grounds of St Columba’s Church, Long Tower at the funeral of IRA man Gerard Logue.

Following a stand-off, the Derry diocese eventually allowed the Deery-McSheffrey funerals to go ahead at St Eugene’s Cathedral.

However, the cortege was heavily flanked by RUC officers in full riot gear.

As it made its way to Derry city cemetery, a masked IRA man fired a volley of shots over the two coffins.

Police surrounded mourners, almost knocking Eddie McSheffrey’s coffin to the ground.

As mourners attempted to hold police back, plastic bullets were fired and the cortege was baton-charged, leading to 20 mourners suffering a range of injuries.

Mrs Deery’s husband, Patsy, a painter by trade, had died from cancer in 1971.

The couple had lived in Portsmouth for a while but returned to Derry after the birth of their first son.

The injuries suffered by Mrs Deery, a mother-of-14, on Bloody Sunday caused her to suffer health problems for the rest of her life.

She died on January 28 1988.

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