A man taken from an orphanage by Cardinal Cahal Daly who lived all his life with the cardinal has died in Belfast.
James Donnelly, an orphan in Nazareth House, Belfast, who used to serve Mass for Cahal Daly every morning, was taken from the orphanage by Cahal Daly and brought to live in Longford when Daly became bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise.
Daly told James not to tell the nuns where he was going or who he was going with!
James then lived with and a servant to Daly from 1967 to 2009 – a period of 42 years in Longford, Belfast, Armagh and finally Belfast.
James himself told me that he was paid £ 50 per month or £600 a year for a six day week.
He was allowed a day off every Thursday if it suited Dsly.
Daly always referred to him as his “valet”. His duties included helping Daly to dress, polishing Daly’s shoes and treating the leather headband of Daly’s mitres with Johnsons Baby Oil.
MY INVOLVEMENT WITH JAMES DONNELLY
One day I got a telephone call from a middle-aged Protestant lady who lived in Belfast. She told me she had a Catholic neighbour in the flat adjoining hers who was very depressed as how he had been treated by the Church. She asked to visit her and James for a meal.
That is what I did and that is how I got to know James.
James referred to Cahal Days as: “My man”.
He showed me aound his flat and showed me a lot of religious objects that were gifts from “My man”.
He was unhappy that after Daly’s death he was being supported by a Trust Daly had set up for him. His contact with the Trust was the PP of St Brigid’s Parish on Belfast Malone Road – Fr Edwars O’Donnell. James said was somewhat afraid of O’Donnell who treated him like a headmaster treated a child.
James was taken to Daly family occasions. He liked a drink but at the Daly occasions he was not allowed to drink. He was given Shloer while others had wine etc.
He also sat at a distant part of the table, according to him.
James did like a drink. What other luxury had he?
Afterwards I often brought him for a meal and a few drinks and left him home safely.
When Daly died James did start to visit some of the gay establishments in Belfast and made some friends there whose company he enjoyed.
All of this would have been a no no for the Dalys.
When he lived with Daly Longford and when he got his Thursday off he would cycle from Longford to Galway and visit Bishop Eamon Casey for lunch – 79 miles each way ! He told me Casey gave him a large whiskey for his return journey.
He must have been extremely fit at the time to undertake such a journey.
I do not know if Cahal Daly’s relationship with poor James ever veered into the genital.
What is clear is that Daly took unto himself a very vulnerable and uneducated orphan and turned him into his life long slave.
I am quite convinced that Daly was a repressed homosexual and used James to fill an ugly gap in his own psychosexual circus.
James did not enter this relationship equally, knowledgeably, freely and with proper consent.
He was almost kidnapped from his orphanage by a man full of egotistical guile and submitted to a life of physical, emotional and monetary slavery.
Daly represented himself as James’ saviour while giving him the victoriana title of valet.
A LETTER I SENT TO DALY IN 2008.
May James Donnelly now experience the love, freedom and respect that he was deprived of by a man whom I accused many years ago of “being strong with the weak and weak with the strong”.