The meeting was broken up by the Gardai but the Ireland Republican Army officers had already left. He spent 22 years as superintendent of the Belfast Central Mission, from 1957 until 1979. He died on 30 December 1999, aged 86, and was interred at the Lisburn New Cemetery at Blaris, County Down.
At Rev Gallagher"s funeral in January 2000, Cardinal Cahal Daly, with whom Gallagher had jointly chaired a social issues group behind the Violence in Ireland report to the churches stated: "Not many people have been clear and steady beacons of light in the darkness of the last 30 years.
Eric Gallagher was one.. t was a privilege to work with him.. he took risks for peace." Gallagher was the subject of Peacemaker, written by Dennis Cooke.